Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Friday, January 30, 2009

Life - Imagine the Potential

This is a video that I received via email. The accompanying message read:
NBC television has rejected a pro-life advertisement which Catholicvote.org bought for a slot in the Super Bowl because the ad contains a pro-life message. The 30-second ad features ultrasound pictures from a baby in its mother’s womb. There is nothing either graphic or political and the word abortion is not even used. In fact, no words are spoken, only graphics that appear on-screen. Yet, the message is extremely powerful.
See for yourself.



A child conceived today in circumstances where the mother would face raising that child on her own, without the father (because of abandonment) - that child would be at high risk for aborion. Knowing this, it is interesting that President Obama supports abortion rights more aggressively than any other liberal president in our recent history.

Please remember to pray for President Obama, that he might personally see the implications of such an agenda, and that God would turn his heart to value all human life, especially that of such a fragile and unprotected segment of our society.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Keep and Share

Just the other day I found a great resource online that I'd like to share for today's Tidy Tip Tuesday post. I wrote about it in yesterday's Menu Plan Monday post. Keep and Share is an online calender. I like it for several reasons. It's free, though you can upgrade if you want for a price. You can type as much text into the calender as you want (right now I am using the weekly calender to make up my menus) and then print it out with all the text. I've tried using three or four calenders I have on my computer, but none will show all the text when printed up.

You do not have to type in dates either. The calender advances or reverses to whatever date you want with a click. There are daily, weekly and monthly calenders.

But it's more than just a calender. I have not yet fully explored all the offerings, but it looks really interesting. Check out Keep and Share. Perhaps you'll like it as much as I do!
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday







Some of you may remember when I used to post menus on Monday. Here's one for this upcoming week. Can't say how often I will post my dinner menu, just that I'll try. There are quite a few bloggers who do this and you can look at their menus by clicking on the "Menu Plan Monday" graphic above.

Also, if you want the actual recipes for this week's menu, you'll have to go to my recipe blog - Franziska's Pantry.

Now, here's a little additional info for you about weekly menu calenders:

Since I started using Vista for Windows so many of my old applications just do not work. One of those was a calender that was handy for planning my weekly menus. For the past several days I've been searching for something similar without the results I want.

You can see what my old calender menu looked like above. You can't really make out the menus, but they are listed in pink at the top of each day. There was room to write notes for each meal.

Well, the calender programs I have now will not let me include the entire menu on the page. The text gets cut off. It's an application that is meant to be used on the computer. You click on the text and it opens to the full explanation, etc.

However, in my quest I found an online calender program that I think I might really like. Click here to check it out. The basic calender is free which is just what I was looking for. It's easy to create and print. This is the first calender I printed for next week's menu:

During the week, I keep the menu posted on the frig and then move it to a binder with all my past menus when the week is over. As you can see, it has plenty of room for notes or a To-Do list for the day. And what I especially like is the larger font. It's easy to read. This is what I'll do now for my menu plan and notes.

Anyway, here is what we are eating this week for dinner:
Sunday: Beef Vegetable Soup, Spinach Salad (pecans, dried cranberries, red onion and Feta cheese) with Smokey Poppy Seed Dressing

Monday: Classic Chicken Divan, Brown Rice with Peas and Parsley, Steamed and Buttered Yellow Squash

Tuesday: Pinto Beans, Chili Rellenos, Jicama and Cilantro Slaw

Wednesday: Stuffed bell Peppers, fettuccine with Marinara Sauce (from cooked bell peppers), Mixed Green Salad with Easy Poppy Seed Dressing

Thursday: Greek Lamb Stew with Spinach and Artichokes, Fresh Fruit, Cool and Creamy Pea Salad

Friday: Country Style Pork Ribs, Winter Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese, Classic Coleslaw

Saturday: Curried Chicken Salad, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Fruit, Crusty Sprouted Bread: Curried Chicken Salad, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Fruit, Crusty Sprouted Bread
You'll have to go to Franziska's Pantry for recipes. That's the blog that I keep them all on now. You will find the same Menu Plan Monday post with links to all the recipes.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Me? I'm Just a Sandwich on the Go!

What a full life Robert (my husband) and I have experienced lately! There has not been much time for blogging as a result.

We have no children at home - well, no children except our two-year old "wanna-be grandson", Riley, who is with us on a average of three to four days a week from 5:30 in the morning till 3 PM, and his brother, Miles, who also comes then, but goes to school at 8:30 AM. So I guess we do have small children in our home.

But also, between the two of us, we have three parents who are "advanced in age" - the Bible's age-old terminology for that time of life. And as of this past weekend all three parents are living near us and depending on us for some of their care. So Robert and I are sandwiched somewhere in between the two generations we care for. People in this situation are now called the "sandwich generation".

Robert's father, now advanced to 90, just moved from the east coast (Long Island, N.Y.) to Merrill Gardens here in our own community this past weekend. My mom, 82, moved day-before-yesterday to the same facility, though she had been living just blocks from us. For both of them it is such an improvement. Words cannot express the relief we sense just knowing that they are both very well-taken care of.

Robert's mother, 85, (his father and mother were divorced over 50 years ago) who lives about half an hour away, is still living on her own. Robert visits her weekly for shopping and doctor visits and also for any other needs she may have. They speak daily at 5 PM on the phone. Robert and I are the only people available to care for his parents, but, thankfully, my sister has been a mainstay for our mother.

Our schedule has been grueling for about 2 weeks now, getting Dad Kaufman's apartment furnished, getting my mom to doctor's appointments to be evaluated for her new residence, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, etc. And come to think of it, when we were down to the wire last week, I also had Riley and Miles for four of those days. Whew!!! I was not only a "sandwich on the go" but at times was really "out to lunch" also as the caption on the graphic depicts.

Of course, we've come up against all the customary challenges in caring for our charges - the children and our parents. None of them know the Lord and that is the most heart-rending, urgent need for them all. So we pray.

But, as many of you know, there are daily changes with little folks as well as those advanced in years. During the move, we saw Robert's dad become so disoriented that he, in very angry tones, asked Robert where Robert was and insisted that Robert was not Robert and that he should stop playing games with him (quite alarming). Thankfully, he recovered within an hour and everything was rosy again.

Though, as a "sandwich on the go" I could easily feel like each one we care for is just wanting to take a bite out of me, as Christians, Robert and I simply want to love the ones we care for. Most importantly, we want to point them to the Savior who can rescue them from an eternity without His benevolent presence and delight them with Himself. We can only do that as we have been in His benevolent presence and are perfumed with His lovely fragrance of grace and truth.

Hopefully life will level out soon (really, does it ever?). We'd also love to hear from any of this blog's readers concerning these matters. What has your experience been and how have you manifested Christ's endearing love to those you care for? We need wisdom as we go about ministering to our parents (and also the children). We also need rest and strength and welcome any tried and true insights that would make this endeavor truly a work of grace and mercy toward our loved ones.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Hang, Patch, Paint

Here are a few tips when it comes to hanging pictures on your walls, patching holes and then touching up the paint.

Tip #One: This tip works for pictures hung centered on a narrow wall and makes measuring easy. To find the center of the wall, use a cloth (or plastic) measuring tape to first determine the width of the wall. Now you'll want to know where the center is. If the wall is 20" wide, then it is a cinch to just divide that number in half. The center is at 10". But if the wall measures 23 and 3/8" it's not so easy to figure out what half is.

Instead of using brain power, just fold the cloth measuring tape in half and hold it, (still folded) up to the wall at the height you want to hang the picture and mark the center in pencil. That's where you'll put your picture hanger.

Tip #Two: If you are like me when putting a nail in the wall to hang a picture, etc., you may accidentally drive the it in a little too high or low or over too far one way. In that case you'll have to make a new hole in the wall and patch the hole that was positioned wrong.

The easiest and quickest way to fix that hole is to patch it immediately. In a pinch, I've used white toothpaste (paste kind), ivory bar soap and other substances. But my favorite product to use for patching nail holes is Patch and Paint Lightweight Spackling by Custom Building Products. I find it at Home Depot. It is very, very lightweight. In fact when you first pick it up, you will probably think that the container is empty.

This product can be applied with your finger (perhaps it would be best to use a plastic glove). It has only a slight odor (not at all unpleasant), drys quickly, (can be painted in 15 minutes), needs no sanding and cleans up easily. Keep a container of this in each room's closet, so you'll know just where it is when you need it.

Tip # Three: I've mentioned this tip before, but it bears repeating now since it is the next step in the process of "hang, patch, paint". Throughout your house, keep a small container (baby food jar works good) of the color of the wall paint for each room in that room's closet. That way you can pull out the paint from the closet and paint over the patch 15 minutes after having applied the spackling, without having to look in the garage forever for the right color paint.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Joy in the Midst of Financial Crisis

It seems that most of us nowadays are affected by the economic downturn, but our God is still on the throne. If you are experiencing job loss at this time or dwindling retirement funds or the loss of a home (even if things are rosy for you), please take time to watch this encouraging message from John Piper.


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Coffee Filters, Not Just for Making Coffee

My sister, Kathy, sent me the following ideas for coffee filters. Thanks Kathy!

You can find coffee filters really cheap at the Dollar Tree - 1000 filters for...you guessed it...$1.00. Put them to good use with the following ideas:

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting several coffee filters between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter and use to apply shoe polish.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. - Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter and place through Popsicle sticks.

12. Rather than those expensive strips to wax eyebrows, use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few coffee filters on a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, etc. on them. Soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great razor nick fixers.

15. Use to sprout seeds. Dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

16. Blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filter in a phone book.

17. Tie up herbs or peppercorns with plain dental floss for soups and stews.

18. Use to strain bone stock to remove carcass from liquid.

19. Tie up baking soda with plain dental floss in a coffee filter and place in shoes to freshen them.

20. Lavender sachets. Place some lavender on coffee filter and tie with pretty ribbon for the linen closet or dresser drawers.

21. Use as a tea bag. Tie up loose leaf tea with plain dental floss in a coffee filter and steep tea without the mess.

22. Grate cheese onto a coffee filter to save yourself a mess. Pick up the edges of the filter with the cheese inside to add it to desired ingredients.

23. Protect Christmas ornaments. Wrap Christmas ornaments with coffee filters to prevent breakage.
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In Remembrance of Tickle Bone Tuesday

Do you remember Tickle Bone Tuesday? If not, go to that link on the index in the sidebar to view the videos that have been posted there in the past. Some are really funny.

That brings us to today. My sister, Kathy, sent me this funny story and so I just had to resurrect Tickle Bone Tuesday one more time. Here goes:

Get Out of the Car!!!
(This is reported to be a true story recorded in the Police Log of Sarasota, Florida.)

An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle.

She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her lungs, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!" The four men did not wait for a second threat. They jumped out of the car and ran like mad.

The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition.

She tried and tried, and then she realized what the trouble was. It was for the same reason she had wondered why there was a football, a Frisbee and two 12-packs of beer in the front seat.

A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down in the lot. She loaded her bags a second time into her own car this time and drove to the police station to report her mistake.

The sergeant to whom she told the story could not stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale men were reporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed.

Moral of the story? If you're going to have a senior moment...make it memorable!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Healthy Human Hygiene - Refreshing Thyme Mouthwash

This mouthwash not only freshens and cleans with natural, safe ingredients, it also whitens your teeth.

Better, Cheaper, Safer Thyme Mouthwash
2 ounces 80+ proof vodka
7 ounces filtered water
7 ounces 3-percent hydrogen peroxide
5-6 drops each of thyme and eucalyptus essential oils

Directions: To make: In a 2-cup measuring cup, blend vodka, filter water and hydrogen peroxide together. Add the essential oils. Using a funnel, pour into a 16-ounce plastic bottle.

To use: Take a small amount into mouth and swish around, holding mouthwash in mouth for about one minute while it foams and cleans teeth and gums. Do not swallow mouthwash.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Smart Closet Organizing

If you are like me, you have clothes hanging in your closet that should not be there. You say, like me, "I like this blouse. I must remember to wear it soon." But soon never seems to come. Here is a smart way to sort out the clothes that never seem to make it from the hanger onto your body:

Rehang all of your clothes backwards (the opposite of the photo) - with the hanger positioned so that the end of it (the curved part that actually hangs on the closet rod) faces outward toward you as you look at it (this is easy to do, but hard to explain).

Now, when you take an item of clothing off of the hanger to wear and you are hanging it back up after laundering, put it back in the closet the usual way (with the curved hanger facing towards the back of the closet, as in the photo). Do this with each article of clothing that you actually wear.

After six months take a look at all of your clothes as they hang in the closet. You will easily be able to note which ones never got worn because they will still be hanging backwards. Take these out, put them in a bag and bless someone on FreeCycle (a free-for-all online recycling forum) or your favorite thrift shop.

Go a step further: While you are in the initial process of rehanging your clothing, take a few extra minutes to hang them according to color. Use colored plastic tubular hangers. Blue skirts, dresses and tops get hung on blue hangers. When I did this, I found that I had enough hangers in my closet already and did not have to buy extras. But if you do need to buy more, they are very inexpensive and can be found at dollar stores in a variety of colors.
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Only One Thing Needed for Simplicity

The new year always brings with it new resolutions. One that I really want to accomplish this year is to simplify my life. But how do I do that? My first thought is, "I need to cross this thing off my schedule and get rid of all that stuff in the closet, and...." But, really, simplifying my life can only happen by adding something to it, not by taking anything away. In fact, if I take away this key simplifying agent, my life becomes stressful and complicated even if I have the perfect schedule and live in a house that is perfectly organized and outfitted.

This thing that I refer to is the "one needful thing" Jesus talked with Martha about in Luke 10:38-42. He praised Mary, who chose to sit at His feet while Martha's life swirled around her, distracting her, till she became anxious and demanding - even toward Jesus.

There is an old phrase - keeping tryst - that describes Mary's time with the Savior. What does that mean? "Tryst" is an old word we are unfamiliar with, but its meaning is simple and rich: an agreement (as between lovers) to meet at an appointed time, at an appointed place. To keep tryst with God therefore means, first of all, that I regard Him as the Lover of my soul. That says volumes! When I first realized that I loved the man who is now my husband, there was nothing that could stand between he and I seeing each other; and the plan to meet again - exactly where and when - was never neglected before we had to part from one another.

By keeping tryst with Jesus, I find that He reminds me of those things that are needful and pours forth His sweet Spirit within me to enable me to do whatever He asks with love. And regardless of the simplicity or complexity of my day, if I have met with Jesus and continue to commune with Him, I can meet the challenges with peace of mind. Simplicity really begins in my thought life. I can be harassed with just one thing in front of me if I am not empowered by the Lord.

My life is simplified also just by the contentedness I will have in Jesus when I keep tryst with Him. I will not be coveting all the stuff that's out there. As I became more contented in Christ, I asked Him to cut me loose from all the stuff I had collected over the years. He did. The period of time that followed that prayer I call "the year of broken glass". I broke so many knick-knacks - things I had really been fond of. Each time another item fell out of my hands and onto the floor in pieces, God reminded me of what I had prayed for and I was able to say, "Thank you, Lord. You are simplifying my life"

Jesus cut right through all the unnecessary with Martha also when she finally suspended her busyness to speak to Him, though it was in demanding tones. He said to her then and continues to say to us now, "...you are worried and bothered about many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one...". Mary chose that one good thing, the one thing that would never be taken away from her - sitting at her Lord's feet, keeping tryst with Him.

The most amazing thing about keeping tryst with the Lord is that I will probably do more with greater ease than I would have had I not met with Him. And the things I do will be empowered by Him and will also have eternal effects. As long as my eyes are on Him, I will not become distracted, worried and demanding. He will order my day and my mindset also. Simply put, I will recon that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Keeping tryst with the Lord - it means that He is the Lover of my soul, that I am intent on hearing His every word and command, that I make my plan to be with Him at a certain time and place everyday, and that when I leave I am already anticipating the next time I will be with Him. Is this not the primary way we exhibit our love for Him? As a result, He orders my day. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight (Pr.3:6). He will go before you and simplify your day and your mindset. Neglect this one needful thing and He has told us what will happen, "Without Me, you can do nothing" - nothing, that is, which is of eternal value, nothing, that is, but being worried and bothered about life's demands.

As we begin this new year, join with me in this commitment - to keep tryst with the Lover of our souls. It really is the prerequisite to any other new year's resolutions you may have in mind. Then you will be able to do all things, simple or not, because of His empowering strength!
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Friday, January 2, 2009

The Christmas Story as Told by Orison Piper

Though Christmas has come and gone, the story of Christ's incarnation never gets old. Though it is an ancient story it is ever new for it is eternal. So when I came across this video of John Piper's grandson reciting his rendition of Luke 2, I was very blessed (and very sweetly amused). The parents apparently read Luke, chapter 2 every night for a month to Orison with a surprising result. There was no attempt made to teach Orison the passage by heart. So pay heed, parents of little ones, to what can happen when Scripture is presented to a child repeatedly by just reading it.


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Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a New Year - 2009! Happy, Happy New Year!

It's that time when we all desire and even strive to get our homes, lives, files, and yes, even our blogs organized. I was beginning to get a bit claustrophobic with all the clutter on my blog so I decided to simplify and spread out a bit with this new design. In fact, this is what I was working on when I wiped out so many widgets the other day.

There are still many irregularities that need to be cleaned up. But that shouldn't take too long. Hang in there and bear with me.

Anyway, as you can see there are many changes that I hope will make navigating this blog more pleasant and a little easier. You will notice as you are reading a post that it is only a snippet of the entire piece. You will need to click on the "Read more..." link to find it in its entirety.

There is also a bottom-bar now with lots of info in it. Eventually I will put a Flicker slide show. Also new is the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Whew! I don't feel so closed in now or cluttered - either here in blog world or in my home. I've been uncluttering there too. Sure feels good and is a great way to start off 2009!

It's a new year - 2009! Happy, happy new year!
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