Friends after all these years…

26758066_10214296147290109_1689040838904244603_oOne of the difficult parts in moving to another area of the county is leaving behind friends. Social media has made it easier but in my opinion it’s still not the same as face-to-face time over coffee!  Sadly, drifting apart is only a matter of time, no matter what you do. Recently I was able to reconnect with six friends from the St. Louis area and spend 4 days together. I am so happy I had this time to catch up on our families, ministries and personal lives. I am blessed to know each one of them!

I like what ancient King Solomon wrote in his book called Ecclesiastes: “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps.  But if there’s no one to help, tough!” (4:9-10 MSG) I’ve seen both sides of that statement to be true. The friendships in my life are a treasure and have come to my aid many times in many ways.

Moving to Colorado (Green Acres) was not my first move. Besides Missouri, I have also lived in Illinois, New York, and beautiful Oregon. Translation: lots of good-byes to friends and many strained relationships. Experiencing these moves across the country has taught me a lot about relationships. One of the most important lessons has been this: Nurture your friendships because one of the best things you can do for yourself is to be a good friend to others. Sometimes, strike that, many times this is easier said than done. This requires time, patience and most often the use of a lot of conversation and words. When you’re an extrovert who is verbal that is easy, but, when you aren’t an extrovert who is verbal it takes a real effort.

A few years ago I read John Maxwell’s book called Becoming a Person of Influence. What he said in that book about words and our relationship with others has been timeless advice I keep handy. In summary, he stresses the value of using these important words in our conversations with others:

  • The least important word: I
  • The most important word: We
  • The two most important words: Thank you.
  • The three most important words: All is forgiven
  • The four most important words: What is your opinion?
  • The five most important words: You did a good job.
  • The six most important words: I want to understand you better.

So, take it to heart and be good to yourself by tending to your friendships!

Time is up for me and my six St. Louis friends at our mini-retreat. We are all heading back home but the moments we have spent together have been sweet. So until the next time… thank you Colleen, Susan, Lisa, Linda, Carol and Janet for keeping connected with me, carving out this time to get together, and speaking kindness, encouragement, technical information and the wealth of your God-centered wisdom with me. How blessed I am to have you as my friends!

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis

Does anyone use a recipe box anymore?

Recipe box

My overstuffed recipe box

When I have time I like to visit the local Habitat Restore or Goodwill store to search for some new treasures.   Recently I was visiting our Habitat store in Berthoud (which by-the-way is REALLY  nice) and noticed there were a few brand new recipe boxes and packages of unused recipe cards. Then on a later visit to the Goodwill store in Loveland I saw several more. I guess with immediate online access to any recipe or cooking question people don’t need recipe boxes anymore. Things have changed. There was a time when no kitchen was useable without one!

Not me, I still own and use one. Inside it is stuffed with recipes for cookies, main dishes, meat, beverages, desserts, salads, and I think there is even a miscellaneous section for things like canning, candy, or craft projects. Most of my recipes come from my mom, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends. I especially treasure the handwritten ones they passed on to me. With each one there is a memory of how I received it. In a way, it’s like a scrapbook of celebrations and special events. Even though I regularly use my Yummly©, Pinterest© and Food Network© apps on my ipad, I would never think of giving up my collection.

So, in the spirit of sharing here’s a recipe from my box. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Ingredients: fresh green beans, bacon, butter, brown sugar, chili pepper

1) Prepare and heat up your grill.

2) Wash and dry the fresh green beans. Take a small bundle of the beans and wrap them with 1 slice of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.  Make at least one bundle per person.

3) In a small sauce pan, mix 1 part butter with an equal part of brown sugar. (I usually use ½ cup of butter and brown sugar)  Next, add chili pepper to your taste. Heat the mixture until it bubbles. Remove from the stove and use a brush to coat each bundle of green beans with the chili sauce.

4) Place the prepared bundles on your hot grill and cook until the bacon is done.  You will want to turn the green beans at least once to make sure both side are well done.  When they are finished cooking you will want to serve them immediately.  These are delicious. The first time I was cautious with the chili pepper. The second time… not so much.  Thank you Colleen for this yummy way to prepare green beans!

Will you join me in praying for our country?

One of the things I love about my life here is Colorado is my new church family at Lifebridge Christian Church!  Bobby and I do everything we can to not miss an opportunity to attend weekend services. During this morning’s service we had a dedicated time to pray for our nation and the upcoming election. It was a very honest and sincere time of seeking God’s help which left me with a conviction to scratch my second blog content and write this one instead.

I had the privilege earlier this year to participate on the writing team for the fall session of  women’s Bible study material at Lifebridge. My assignment was to write three weeks of homework (15 lessons) on the subject of prayer. In addition, I was also invited to teach the group lectures for these three weeks (a total joy for me).

Because we retain 15 – 20 % of what we hear and 80% of what we experience, I decided during the final lecture to provide the women with opportunities  to participate in prayer. During that morning the women were given the options of going on a prayer walk or spending some time praying using a journal. Half way through the morning we came back together and concluded the morning with a concert of prayer for our community, nation and world.

I was asked to participate in the concert of prayer by leading the group in prayer for our country. In preparing for my assignment I googled “prayer for our nation” and found several good examples of prayers others have used. Using them as a template I was able to write out the following  words from my heart…

Lord, we thank you for the many provisions you have blessed us with personally and collectively as a community. We thank you that you are concerned about the things which concern us.

Today, we come before You and humbly ask for Your undeserved mercy upon our lives, our families, our community, and our nation.  We come before You with deep awareness of our need for Your mercy on our land. By Jesus’ blood alone, we plead for Your merciful grace to revive and bless us once again!

Righteous God, please send overwhelming conviction of sin, deep brokenness and genuine repentance among Your people. Grant to us the true godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Fill us with holy fear and reverence for Your name.

Mighty God, please come upon our country with deep repentance, dynamic power and renewed passion for You. It is our prayer this morning for Your revival to come upon our nation. Righteous God, grant to us a burning hunger for Yourself and a passion for fervent prayer. Help us draw near to You and seek You with all our hearts. Lord, cause us to hunger and thirst for You above all else. Heal us and help us lead others to a relationship with You!

Holy Father, we humbly ask for a mighty move of conviction and salvation in government leaders and others who influence culture. We ask You to pour out convicting, saving power upon Washington, D. C., colleges, universities, media networks, social networks and the Hollywood movie industry. We ask that You so move that millions will be converted to Christ in these strategic communities of cultural influence.

In this time of election we ask for unity, safety, peace, and Your favor. Squelch any attempt for evil to influence weak or angry citizens to cause harm to our nation or others. Lord, raise up those to lead us who will seek Your wisdom and guidance to lead us in righteous, good ways so we might once again be known as a nation who loves and follows your Word. Lord, bring Your conviction and change to the places in our government which lack integrity and righteousness. Move among the politicians and elected officials to know You, know truth and know the best way to lead.

Lord, Your Kingdom come! Through Your Spirit’s power we humbly seek a spiritual awakening among our nation! In the precious name of Jesus we pray these things.  Amen

Would you join me in praying for our country?