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agardenminestronesoupYes, the Lord will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.  Psalm 85:12 (NKJV)

Today is the first day of fall, and we are still bringing in veggies from our garden.  What a fun summer we had watching it grow, setting out sprinklers on super-hot days, and bending over to pull weeds (well, we ignored many of them!).  Now we are enjoying the fruits of our labors and trying to find creative ways to incorporate all these veggies into our meals. Thank you, Jesus, for our garden!

Here is one of our favorite soups which uses at least seven ingredients from our garden. The original recipe came from The first Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (1977).  I modified her recipe to fit our garden and taste buds.  Garden minestrone soup doesn’t take long to prepare.  Enjoy this on a crisp fall day!

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 to 2  cups celery, chopped (I like extra)
1 to 2 cups carrots, circles or half-circles
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 to 2 cups zucchini, diced
1 cup green pepper, chopped
2 cups tomato juice
3 1/2 cups water
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup dry gluten-free pasta
Fresh parsley

Putting it Together:
In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until soft, but not brown.  Add the carrots, celery, and garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add pepper, oregano, and basil.  Cover and cook over low heat 5-8 minutes while you prepare more veggies.  Add zucchini, green pepper, tomato juice, water, and garbanzo beans.  Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes.  Add tomatoes and 1 more teaspoon salt.  Now turn up heat and bring soup to a boil. Add the gluten-free pasta and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve topped with fresh parsley from your garden.  Hmm, hmm, taste those blessings!

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.  Genesis 8:22

agardenjoel

Little Joel heads out two or three times a day to harvest garden veggies.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


keyJesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

If you’re like me, you have a ring of keys…one key for the house, one for the car, one for the post office box, etc.  We make sure we have our keys wherever we go, and we get very distressed if we can’t find them!

Well, after driving a minivan with oil leaks and miles to indicate driving around the equator 10 times, our family had to look for a different vehicle.  My husband found a used minivan one state away.  So for Labor Day weekend, we packed up the camping supplies and headed that way to take a look.

The car salesman located the vehicle for us and pulled it around so we could test drive it.  The van was already running when we climbed in and buckled our seatbelts.  So weren’t we surprised when we drove down the road and noticed there was no key!  How could it run with no key?!  A funny light was also blinking on the dashboard.

When we returned to the car shop, the salesman confessed he had forgotten to take the key fob out of his pocket.  The light on the dashboard was to warn us not to drive away without the fob.  If we had turned off the car, we wouldn’t have been able to turn it on again.

This keyless entry is a concept brand new to our old vehicle minds.  There have always been keys.  It made me wonder how other events would be viewed in a keyless society.  Will people think they can get into heaven without the key?  If someone else opens heaven’s door, can we just walk in?  If our friend has the fob in his pocket, can we get in with her?

Oh, my Tea Cupp friend, I want to be sure you have the key to heaven.  Jesus is the Key.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  And to all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you have the Key to heaven, share it with a friend.  If you need the Key to heaven, pray to Jesus right now.  Welcome to God’s family!

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


amazing2Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
Psalm 36:5-6 (NKJV)

“Mommy look there! Daddy look here!” Joel exclaimed while walking the West Thumb boardwalk in Yellowstone National Park.  His four-and-a-half-year old hands pointed from one side to another at mud pots, fumaroles, geysers, and hot springs.  A tourist from perhaps India was walking toward us.  Upon hearing Joel he smiled and remarked, “Isn’t it amazing?”

“Yes!” I replied, returning his smile, wanting to say so much more, wanting to say, “Isn’t He amazing!  Isn’t God who made all this amazing!”  He put all these cool things to see in our own backyard.  People come from all over the world to witness His creativity and majesty.  (By the way, if you need tips on visiting Yellowstone, the West Thumb area has all the features, and from there it is just a short drive to the peaceful and beautiful Grand Tetons).amazing1

This awesome scenery wasn’t the only time we saw God working on our annual Labor Day weekend camping trip. The very first night we were lost on a dirt road, looking for a forest service campground.  The road was under construction, so all signs marking the campground had been removed.  My husband said a quick prayer to Jesus for help.  Before long we came upon an old car parked sideways in the road we had already traveled.  We asked if they knew the way to the campground. The two ladies beckoned, “Follow us!”

As we tailed their vehicle, I noticed the Florida license plates and wondered allowed, “Why are we following two ladies from Florida to find a campground in Wyoming?”  It was just like the old TV show Touched by An Angel, when the ladies took a turn and said, “Here you are.”  And then they were gone.

A day or two later we were at Colter Bay Campground in the Grand Tetons.  Our campsite was just across the road from the restrooms.  I was setting out food at our picnic table and little Joel was returning from the restroom with his Daddy. Joel ran ahead to greet me when just at that moment a car came along the road, stopping at a water hydrant.  It was God’s angels again who halted that car before it could hit our Joel.

amazing4Yes, God is amazing! We were touched by three angels, enjoyed His beautiful creation, had great family time making s’mores around the campfire, and made it safely home.  Thank you, Jesus!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Where do you see God’s amazing work in your life?  Exalt Jesus today with the Psalms.

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Psalm 8:1 (NKJV)

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:46 (NKJV)

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

amazing3

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


school-house-images-school-houseTeach me Your way, O Lord... Psalm 86:11 (NKJV)

Sending a little prayer idea as you begin your new school year. Why not read a Psalm each day or week with your children, praying together for God’s protection and blessings, that you will shine as lights for Jesus in this world.

Today’s TEA CUPP: You can also read a Psalm during your own quiet time and pray for your children and their friends.  Today I have Psalm 116 for you, divided up into the TEA CUPP.

T for Thanks: 

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:17 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
Psalm 116:5 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:13
(NKJV)

C for Call:

I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.
Psalm 116:18 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling. Psalm 116:8 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 116:9 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:
I love the Lord, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2 (NKJV)

God’s blessings to all children and parents and teachers out there!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


runners2O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

What do runners drink? Usually we think of ice cold water, Gatorade and sports drinks.  Those all refresh me after a long run down the highway.  But what do I like to drink even before a morning run?  I enjoy a TEA CUPP with the Champion of champions, Jesus.

Tea is certainly coming into vogue as the new sports beverage, but the brand I want to share with you is brewed with Living Water, straight from God’s Word. Here’s how it works: Before you do your stretches and head out the door, sit down with your Bible and a cup of tea.  Read a selection, letting the Lord speak first. Then start praying, using Bible verses as conversation starters.

For example, to give God Thanks for your health or recent victory or other blessings in your life, recite 1 Corinthians 15:57 and tell Him for what you are thankful.  Even if you’ve never had a victory, Jesus gives us all the victory over sin and death, because He conquered those when He died and rose again.  Then continue your prayers with Psalm 20:5 to Exalt the Lord and tell Him how great He is. Follow this with Hebrews 12:1-2, asking Jesus to help you Admit and lay aside every sin.

Now you’ve finished your TEA and are ready for the CUPP.  I’ve listed more suggested verses below for talking to Jesus about your Call, Understanding your story, claiming God’s Promises, and pouring out your heart with Petitions for others. As you finish your prayers and tie your shoes, you’ll find the conversation continues as you and Jesus head out for a run together.

 T for Thanks: 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
Psalm 20:5 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus...Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

C for Call:

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:41 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)

P is for Promises:

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Psalm 25:4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Sip this Runner’s TEA CUPP today, before heading out on your path.  Use it as a conversation starter as you talk to the Lord. When you read your Bible, underline more verses you’d like to pray tomorrow.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.


zucchini cupcakesIt’s that time of year again…zucchini time!  Our vines are just bursting with these versatile veggies.  Already we’ve had them on the grill and baked in cupcakes.  To keep ahead of their production, we’ll have to shred or slice and freeze them, and share with all the neighbors.  Please holler if you you want any!  If you happen to have an abundance at your house, you will certainly want to try this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake (gluten-free and dairy-free).  It’s one of our favorites.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Gluten Free Mama Flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 cups zucchini, coarsely shredded (1 medium zucchini)

Putting it together:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line muffin pans with paper, or grease and flour 3 round cake pans.

Mix together dry ingredients:  Gluten-free flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine coconut oil, apple sauce and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla to stand mixer, mixing well.
Add the dry ingredients and shredded zucchini to the stand mixer.  Mix 1 minute or until combined.

Portion batter into prepared pans.  Bake 35 minutes for cupcakes or 1 hour for cakes.  Baking time depends on moistness of zucchini.  Cool on wire racks and frost with your favorite chocolate frosting (we like ganache made with melted dairy-free chocolate chips and a bit of coconut milk).  Enjoy your zucchini season!

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


tea cup for bookmark - no pink!-blankMy Tea Cupp Prayers is all about using God’s Word as a conversation starter as you sit down with Jesus for a cup of tea and prayer.  My favorite verses come from the Psalms, but there are great verses throughout the Bible which I also love.  Jeremiah offers some of the most heart-felt verses.

If we think we are going through tough times, we should look at Jeremiah. According to John MacArthur in his study Bible (page 1059), “Jeremiah has been known as the ‘weeping prophet,’  living a life of conflict because of his predictions of judgment by the invading Babylonians.  He was threatened, tried for his life, put in stocks, forced to flee from Jehoiakim, publicly humiliated by a false prophet, and thrown into a pit.”

Here is a fellow who knew pain and suffering, yet had a dedication to God’s calling on his life.  This is a prophet we can trust with words for talking with God.  And so I picked out a few verses for you today.  Perhaps you will discover even more as you read Jeremiah.  Have a blessed TEA TIME with Jeremiah and Jesus!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Try these verses from Jeremiah as conversation starters for your prayer time today.

 T for Thanks: 

Praise the Lord of hosts,
For the Lord is good,
For His mercy endures forever. Jeremiah 33:11 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. Jeremiah 32:17 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.  Jeremiah 31:34 (NKJV)

C for Call:

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls…”  Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you... Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

Extra verses for wives to pray for their husbands:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV)

 Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. 

Quote from The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997, Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, Inc.


Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19 (NKJV)

fish2

We have some fishing fun for you today! Since it is hot and summer time, your family may be sipping lemonade, orange juice and other beverages that come in a carton. How about turning those cartons into fishing fun for the kids?

fish6

Joel and I were sitting by his wading pool one hot July day, when we came up with this idea.  We cut fish shapes from a lemonade carton, since the coating on the carton protects the fish in the wading pool.

fish1

Then we fastened safety pins to the mouths of the fish.

fish9

Finally, we tossed the fish in the wading pool.  Joel fished them out with his magnetic fishing pole.

fish3

If you don’t have a fishing pole, you could attach a magnet from your fridge to a string on a stick.

fish7

While we were making our fish, we talked about how Jesus liked to go fishing.  In fact, many of Jesus’ friends were fishermen.  Sometimes Jesus’ friends had trouble catching fish and Jesus would tell them to “throw the net on the other side of the boat.” Then they would catch so many fish the net would almost break.  How did Jesus know there were so many fish on the other side?

fish4

Today’s TEA CUPP for homeschool moms:  Stay cool, recycle, have fun fishing, talk about Jesus. 

fish5

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  Deuteronomy 6:7 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


chickpea saladWhen the thermometer is in the 90’s and creeping to 100, you want to avoid the oven and stove at dinner.  Here is a tasty and nutritious summer salad sure to please!

Our son Jacob is into eating healthy, so I googled chickpea heathy facts for this recipe.  You will be happy to know that according to The World’s Healthiest Foods,
“Garbanzo beans are an excellent source of molybdenum and manganese. They are also a very good source of folate and copper, as well as a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, protein, iron, and zinc.” Mix those nutrients with some tasty veggies and seasonings, and you have a fresh, delicious dinner!

I have so many people to thank for this recipe!  Thank you to FISHLOVE who posted the original recipe on allrecipes.com.  Thank you to my co-Grandma Dana who made this for our daughter Kallie on the birth of our granddaughter Kennedy.  And thank you to my friend Elsbeth who loved it when I made it for her when her new baby Eli was born.  Try this for your next supper on a hot day…

Ingredients:
2 (19 oz) cans garbonzo beans drained and rinsed
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 mini red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup mayo or dairy-free yogurt
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry dill weed
salt and pepper
fresh spinach leaves or pocket bread

Putting it together:
Put chickpeas (garbonzo beans) in a bowl and mash slightly with a fork.  Add veggies, mayo, lemon juice and seasonings. Cover and chill in frig until ready to eat. Serve in pita pocket bread or on a bed of fresh spinach (my gluten-free favorite), with a side of fresh fruit and a tall glass of lemonade or ice tea.  Your summer evening is set!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


easter_cross_light_2012_c1My Dear Loved One,

You are my Daddy, my brother, my cousin, my aunt, my niece, my landlord, my milkman, my son’s coach, my son’s college roommate, my student, my neighbor, my grocery store checker, my friend’s child, my high school chum, my employer, my friend.

You have a reservation in heaven.  I made it for you every week in my prayers. Others have been calling in reservations for you, too.  To confirm you are on the list in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), please accept Jesus (read on).

It will be such a great time!  The streets are paved with gold in this beautiful city. There is a river flowing from the throne of God and a tree that bears a different fruit every month (Revelation 22:1-2).  And we will never have tears again, for there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). 

How did I hear about this ultimate destination?  In the best travel brochure of all, the Bible.  Jesus told me to not be troubled, to believe in Him and God. He said, “for in My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”  (John 14:1-4)

My dear loved one, I asked Jesus to prepare a place for you, too.  My prayer above all other prayers is for you to know Jesus. Why? Because I want you to be in heaven for eternity, not in hell where there really is fire (Revelation 20:15).  I want you to enjoy Jesus’ love and forgiveness on earth, and have His forever joy and peace in heaven.

I want you to know the One who delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the Land of the living (Psalm 116:8-9). So many times I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me (Job 19:25-27)! Now my citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).

The neat thing is when you come near to God He will come near to you (James 4:8). I want you to know that through Jesus Christ the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38).  And when you receive Him and believe in His Name, He gives you the right to be children of God (John 1:12).

God promises that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21).  My dear loved one, please ACCEPT JESUS and confirm your reservation today. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

And when that day comes when Jesus calls you home, I know you will go out with joy and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). When you reach heaven, you will enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4) and I will be so thankful to God that you confirmed your reservation. I love you, my dear loved one! And Jesus loves you most of all!

Today’s Tea Cupp:  But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation (Psalm 69:13)

And since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. (Hebrews 12:28)

Scripture is taken from

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson