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After 100 degree temperatures all summer in Austin and very little rain, water poured from our big Texas sky all week. The neighborhood flowers and trees sprang back to life. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a violet flower and I caught a whiff of it’s intoxicating scent. I could not believe it, a wisteria was blooming in September. There were only a few cascades of the sweet fragrant purple blooms peaking out from a large tangerine trumpet vine. I pulled my bike hesitantly near the vine. This particular neighbor whipped open her front door ran across her lush emerald zoysia lawn and yelled one day when our 14 pound dog piddled on her lawn. Apparently all the dogs loved the spot and her grass was dying. I waived politely and for the last several years simply crossed the street and stayed away, even though our sweet Daisy has long since passed and even when I was on my bike. Since she is a couple blocks over, unfortunately, this was my last interaction. This is all I know of her.

“You answer us in righteousness, with awe-inspiring works” Psalm 65 verse 5.

This small sighting of great awe-inspiring beauty has me now bravely walking on her sidewalk and sniffing the wisteria on her wall. Maybe there will be another chance for us to meet. The wisteria had a second chance to bloom, so perhaps she and I will have a second chance.


Broken steps – Part II



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Does God speak to you? Does He speak audibly, to our hearts and through His Words? I was pulling out of the parking lot anxious to drive straight home and relax after a long day at the office. Although it wasn’t audible or out loud I heard God encourage me in my heart to drop another gift card on the young Mom’s porch and also add a potted flowering plant. I followed God’s gentle urge, and although exhausted I was strangely energized as I hauled my sweaty and probably not so fragrant self to the HEB. I was filled with joy as I placed the beautiful heavenly scented potted gardenia and gift card upon her porch. I later shared at bible study and together we filled a big wicker basket filled with gift cards over the next week. I may never meet this young Mom but she is now on my heart and I’m open to God leading me to place whatever He wants me to place on her steps.

Broken steps



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I love to take long walks every morning, but lately, my feet have taken me much further out of our quiet older neighborhood and closer to a bridge near an overpass of a toll road. Whenever I walk by this area, the noise vibrates my skin as dust stirs and exhaust smells hang heavy in the air. One day, a black lace bra was hanging from a tree. I struggled to reach it with a limb, but I was determined to remove it from the sight of the students I see walking by every day to the bus stop. A makeup bag containing bubblegum pink lip gloss, beige eyeshadow, charcoal, navy, and bronze eye pencils were wholly dumped onto the grass with an empty quart of Fireball cinnamon whiskey a few feet away. There was a beat-up amber leather roper boot in the middle of the street. In March, fake spider and spider webs decorations are adorning a Monte Carlo, a holdover from Halloween. A rusted pole and decrepit cinder blocks hold up the air conditioner. A single violet and yellow-colored baby push walker was parked in the once gravel drive somebody had a small child. I couldn’t help but smile and remember when we had a toddler—thinking of the giggles, wobbles, and sheer sense of glee in pretty much anything. Then I saw a box of size six diapers perched on top of barely navigable broken steps to a home experiencing hardship. I was a wreck. I didn’t want to seem intrusive, but I wanted to help. What business was this of mine? I can’t stop thinking about what I could do. How can I help? I prayed and dropped a gift card to HEB on the front porch enclosed in a lavender card a few days later. I’m overthinking it every morning as I pray and ask Jesus to direct my next steps.

I need a safe place…




I slipped into my seat on the front row at church. My usual spot is next to my husband, who is the pastor. Halfway through the message, I smell honeysuckle and orange as my sweet friend Eileen’s hair brushes the left side of my face, and she taps me on my right shoulder. Trish, there is someone here who needs you. I quietly step into the hallway to see a slight woman in her early 30s hunched over sitting on a child’s bench. Her auburn hair extends far down her back. She is lovely, with golden skin, and she looks up at me. She has startlingly green eyes. Kind and luminescent that are red from crying.
“Hello, how can I help?” Autumn shares she needs a safe place to stay, she lives with three women and a man, and it is not a good situation. Of course, we can help. I sense she is letting her guard down a bit. Her next question”Do you have any food I can eat?” I led her into our food pantry, which is stuffed full. She gingerly fills a bag with tuna cans and peanut butter. She looks straight into my eyes and states, “I’m so sorry I smell like smoke” I smile and offer her a hug which she takes. She holds on like she doesn’t ever want to let go. So I share my Mom loved Marlboro lights, so the smell is lovely to me. The sides of her mouth turn up slightly, and she inaudibly laughs.
I ask her if it is okay for me to pray for her and pray down Jesus. I share how beloved and precious she is to Him and that He loves her. The room fills with His Holy Spirit, and I hold her close as she weeps. She has tattoos everywhere, the also lead from her neck and then all over her face, and fire engine red-tipped fingernails with glistening crystal tips brush her cheek. Nails that look like someone paid a fortune for them. I know she is probably on something, and she also makes her way in the world by selling her body. I’m wrecked and broken-hearted for my new friend Autumn. My heart aches. I want to take her home, and away from her life, she knows or anywhere she wants to go besides her home. I share that it will only be 10 minutes, and Todd will finish his message. She waits 5 minutes and states I’m going home to eat. I’ll be back in a few minutes. I watch her quickly walk across the school parking lot and in-between homes and can no longer see Autumn and her auburn hair. I sit outside the church with Todd wondering how I could have persuaded her to stay. An hour passes, the wind is fierce against my face, the sky foreboding gray, and Autumn never returns. I have prayed for her every day, hoping she would step through the church doors again.
Eileen has a safe house near her neighborhood, but at this point, all we can do is pray Autumn into Isaiah 43:1-2. It states ” Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. I’m asking God to do a new thing for her, to set angels all around her. Not a day has gone by this month without me praying for her freedom and that she is in a safe place. I thank God for placing us in the neighborhood near her home so she could walk to us that day or maybe again someday soon.

Shovel Guy



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I walked in front of a garbage truck the whole time I was out for my lunchtime stroll. It seemed to rev up loudly each time it moved beyond a few cans. It reminded me of how it feels when a person in a bad mood makes contact with you; it’s also with the stench and noise of their bad attitude.

Daisy age 16Don’t assume ownership and try to fix the venomous words spewing. It’s not ours to own. It’s the Lord’s work to repair.

There was a neighbor who was always angry when I walked our sweet Daisy by his yard. He was so upset one day, he took a shovel and began tossing dog poo out in the street with a shovel. He said, “You people need to pick up after your dogs.” By the size of the doggy doo, I knew it was a much larger dog than Daisy, leaving him treasures. I looked over, showed him my bag and softly said we always use a dog waste bag. “He replied, I bet.” At this point, I moved quickly, so I wasn’t on the receipt of a shovel full of ….. Daisy decides to hang out by his red fire hydrant and locks in her legs and won’t move. She’s checking pee-mail, and I’m getting nervous as shovel guy moves closer. I want to lecture him on contaminating our ecosystem, but as the shovel approached, I scooped up our sweet Shitzu and walked on the other side of the street. I continued to do so each evening until he recently moved.

I couldn’t fix my neighbor. He is the Lord’s to repair.

No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, to give grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4: 29-32

Stink Bug Attack


Walking peacefully beside Shoal Creek, a creek I’ve walked beside for most of my lunchtimes the past five years, a giant light green insect landed and attached to my upper arm.

I could not shake it loose and had to scrape it off my hulking bicep with my plastic gym card.

I enjoy the path because two resident falcons often sweep past into the depths of the creek on the hunt for a mouse.

Where was my falcon friend when the stink bug attacked and would not let go?

Sin. It will attach to you, and it will leave a scar behind.

I’m looking at a 5-inch scrape that’s bleeding, and it will undoubtedly leave its mark at least for a while.

What Scares Me – Part 3



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Shoal Creek

Shoal Creek

Being cooped up.

I’m an outdoor girl.

Mothers Day or my birthday are usually a day of canoeing, hiking or horseback riding.

Studying for my big exam this spring I missed taking in the grape kool-aid (mountain laurel) air with honey suckle top notes.

The scent of flowers and birds singing all calm me.

My coursework of memorizing laws and regulations kept me from my daily visit to the creek to breathe in the fresh air-conditioner free air.

Stepping out for a few minutes this spring, a young gentlemen from the next building whistled out the mocking jay haunting melody making me laugh.

I must remind him of a much older Katniss Everdeen.

Getting out of the routine of being outside scares me. Spring seemed to rush by without me noticing.

Don’t be scared… go outside.

What Scares Me – Part 2



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Every day I like to do something that scares me.

Choosing faith over fear, I went to work at a friends firm in Austin.

It scares me.

I’m scared in a good way.

Praying all day I can stay razor-sharp and accomplish as much as I can for our clients.

I am not commuting or working alone.

You have not to do it in your unaided strength: it is God who is all the while supplying the impulse, giving you the power to resolve, the strength to perform, the execution of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

In a nut shell my work encompasses being a tenacious problem-solver for each person I meet throughout my day and doing it with excellence.

The Office

The Office

What Scares me…



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My empty light blinks on. Pulling off the interstate as  my  two-year old daughter sings,  a  gas station is nowhere to be seen.

A rickety metal Sinclair sign  sends me 3 miles down a rutted back road in southern Indiana.

A deserted  gas station greets me as the car rolls over tall grass growing up between concrete cracks.

Gas pumped a twenty to pay and child on my hip,  two red necks approach swiftly, the smell of unkempt bodies and beer knocks my senses and a small brass bell rings as my back pushes open the dusty glass door.

Hank Williams sings from where I hope a cashier is waiting to save me, but no, the barely stocked store is  hauntingly empty.

God spoke to my spirit warning me and nudging me to pull over sooner, but I ignored His signals and the lowering gas gauge.

The odor sickens me as they  paw me and  desperation hit to think they were about to touch my daughter.

The garage door swings open and a gritty oil covered man reaches out toward me.

The Lord is an ever-present helper even when we ignore His promptings.

The two men seemed to vanish like rats into a rusty blue Camaro with a confederate flag covering the back window.

He had been under a car in the bay and was so sorry. “How can I help you Ma’am?”

For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

Healing – Part 10



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Go to Church

Find a bible-based church that’s not so large you get lost in the shuffle.

“See and be radiant and your heart will tremble and rejoice.”  (first half of Is. 59v.5)

Experience the transformative power of God’s Word.

Sorrow is better than laugher, for sadness has a refining influence on us.

Ecclesiastes 7:3

Just soak it all in.




The old.

The young.


Church is a safe place to weep.

The deeper the sorrow, the less the tongue has to say.

The Talmud

Healing – Part 9



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Pumpkins   Rebecca Price     Photography

Evening Pumpkins
by Rebecca Price

Spend time reading poems, writing poems and sharing poems with others.

The following poem is the favorite of Betty Flamm, the wise and beloved matriarch of our book club.

Betty’s godly presence guides, influences and brings us all up to a higher state of thought.


I like Spring, but it is too young.

I like Summer, but it is too proud.

So I like best of all Autumn;

Because its leaves are a little yellow,

Its tone mellover,

Its colors richer,

And it is tinged a little with sorrow.

Its golden richness speaks

Not of the innocence of spring,

Nor of the power of Summer,

But of the mellowness and kindly wisdom

Of approaching age,

It knows the limitations of life,

And is content.

-Lin Yutang

Take a dip at http://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/blog-3/

A poem every day http://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/every-day

Healing – Part 8



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Develop relationships with people in their 90’s.

They have walked through great and irreparable loss.

A seasoned perspective.

My Aunt Virginia almost 94, and a friend Frances, who is  94 seem to have a quick way of pulling me to a feeling of ease.

A beautiful sheath of lilies unfolds in my mind and the scent wakes me, when encouragement or advice comes from these women of distinction .IMG_1005

Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God.

I am God.

Leviticus 19:32 The Message

Healing – Part 7



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A well dressed gentlemen walked past me in the library.

His perfectly polished cordovan dress shoes were in contrast to a strong alcohol odor passing by and nauseating me.

Liquor seeped out of his skin on a Sunday afternoon.

I was just relaxing catching up on the latest periodicals, but another story began to unfold in my mind.

Sadness so unbearable some turn to old vices.

My old vice was candy, especially black licorice.

Blue after visiting with a grieving dear friend, I bought a box.

A strange calm arrived as I bite into the chewy, salty, tart sweet.

Perhaps this well-groomed young man had suffered a loss of some kind.

When the dark angst hits go outside and read the psalms beginning at 100.

Read out loud till you hit 107 verse 20.SONY DSC

He saved them from their distress.

He sent His word and healed them;

He rescued them from the Pit.    Psalm 107 v. 20 HCSB



Healing – Part 6



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The dove is missing!

For two days it bounce around my backyard without flying.

I fed it corn,  left water for it, and set up a hay bale to offer shade and protection from my door.

And now it is gone.

My hope became horror after I saw the feathers…lots of feathers, signs of a struggle.

Later while walking our small dog, fecal evidence betrayed our toy predator.

Our Shitzu was more Sun Tzu, a warrior bird dog, not a palace pet.

Mourn, rest, stay away from the kind of chaos that can attack us when we are in a vulnerable state.



Healing – Part 5



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In line at the grocery store a young mom started setting items aside she could not pay for–

bananas, apples, and other veggies.  I handed the money to the cashier and she, with her many lovely long braids, and her sweet children were on their way.

I’ll never see this family again, but I assured her it was from God and He loves her.

Standing in line at the gas station one of our coaches from the high school was checking out.  It was less than $10.00 but it gave me the opportunity to thank him for all he does for the young people in our community and a simple God Bless you.

You are reading this and thinking I don’t have any extra.

Save a quarter a week till you have a dollar and give it away and bless another.

Perhaps one of my biggest adjustments to having an empty nest is the grocery store, mine is HEB.  Feeling blue grocery shopping alone one Saturday, two teen girls stood in front of me at the checkout counter with a giant bottle of chocolate syrup. The only thing I said as I slipped several dollars to the cashier on their behalf was “God Bless you” to the two smiling young faces. It ended up being on sale and just one dollar, but it was my small way of demonstrating God’s love toward others, and God lifted my spirits as I gave just a little away, my unexpected blessing from Him.

A young mom from our neighborhood texted me to see if she could pick up some food for her three small children from our churches pantry. I could not get there, but the owner of the preschool was there to help, and helped her carry the groceries to her car where she quietly handed the young mom an envelope with extra cash.  That mom called me later to say how she could not believe how God had met her need so quickly.  Sometimes our random acts of kindness are really divine appointments– God’s way of letting others know they are loved and not forgotten.

Feeling Sad?

Be the hand of God.


Healing – Part 4



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Yesterday I fell off my bike carrying too much on the way home from our mailbox. It was a pretty hard fall, contents of my basket flying everywhere, and blood dripping from scrapes on my wrist and leg as I rode home.

Photo by Trish Southard

Photo by Trish Southard

Share your load with others.

Todd would have been glad to swing by our box and pick up some of the bigger items on his way home from work.

Our family lost three loved ones in four years.

Multiple loved ones passing away or one is too much of a burden for anyone to bear alone.

Grief Group helped me lift my heavy heart.

Surrounded by people who have suffered the loss of a loved one, and a leader, the group gently persuades you to share your imperfect memories, portraits,  all while putting you at ease.

Our leader had us write letters to our loved ones sharing that we wished they would have remained alive longer, our anger that they missed an important event, regrets, anger and how lonely we feel without them. We then read those letters at the cemetery or somewhere significant to the two of us. We then burned or buried the letters.

Somehow I felt lighter and more at ease with each letter.

In the Jewish faith when a loved one dies, they sit Shiva for seven days.

They stay home and allow others to listen to them, care for them, and bring them food.

When others are in pain, you will find yourself more compassionate and confident to walk through it with them.

Sit beside them quietly.

No advice needed.

When others are happy, be happy with them.

If they are sad, share their sorrow.

Romans 12:15 TLB

Healing – Part 3



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A Holly Hobby stitching gently nudged my thoughts as I passed it each day.

Whenever you’re blue

Find something to do

For somebody else

Who is sadder than you


Blood Moon   Photo by Colleen Lienhard

Blood Moon
Photo by Colleen Lienhard


Fill your friends’ and families’ darkness with God’s spectacular paint brush.

Stopping off in Columbia to see Uncle Tom and Aunt Grace is always a powerful time of prayer.  Celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary they are blessed by God. Grace stayed up till 1 am with me, and we prayed big and bold and color-filled blessings and prayers on everyone in our families.

Praying the Word of God over each one individually.

At the beach we sunned and swam every day, just the three of us, and occasionally Rick and Laura after work at Corolla Chapel.

I missed the family that had sat beside me the 27 previous years –with our Lord, or off to college, college bound and others spending their vacation elsewhere.

North Carolina was our state.  My husband born in Chapel Hill, our daughter’s summers here at her grandparents’ beach house and my summers for 27 years.

Refreshed by salt air and my family’s laughter and constant teasing, God comforted me.

Fresh sun, vivid oranges and blue streaked memories.

We played new games and visited different spots rediscovering the Outer Banks.

I checked out of email, FB, text and all the rest.

The spaciousness of the ocean and expansion of my time with my family turned my attention upward Praising God and lifting everyone, many of you who are deeply hurting in intercession to our Lord.  I am certain He is going to change your situation or your struggle.

Have faith and believe.

Look up and enjoy His favor and blessing.




Healing – Part 2



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Doing the uncomfortable continually all day.

Remove sorrow from your heart, and put away pain from your flesh, because youth and the prime of life are fleeting.  Ecclesiastes 11:10 HCSB

Pain away from your flesh.

It hurts my fingers when I pull a burr from Daisy’s paw.

It hurts horribly when I pull jumping cholla off our daughter’s leg.

Remove or change to unburden your sorrow.

Teddy Bear Cholla

Teddy Bear Cholla

Change who you are, what you do and where you go.

One practical takeaway from grief group was to add a hobby or something we enjoy into our lives.

Running 3-4 times a week  began in November 2013.

I set my clothes out the night before and the decision is already made. Running has been an effective method to jump-start my morning and waken my mind to prayer and the study of God’s Word.

An almost new habit for me after a 25 year break from running.

I’ve stayed physically active biking, hiking, an occasional canoe trip on the river, and I really enjoy the stair climber at the gym.

Running forced me outside into the sunrise, singing birds and it was very uncomfortable.

The doing of the continually uncomfortable was the key to my healing.


Healing – Part 1



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Healing is like a flower blossom each petal needs to open in its own time.”


My healing came through blessing others.

How could I change and be a little miracle to others, like Peg did all the time.

Peg knew everyone’s birthday.

She probably knew her mail lady’s birthday.

A simple step, but it would mean writing down birthdays.

For me,  that often means a visit to my favorite florist, Lisa.

I love to hear her say, “So who is it for today!”

She listens and creates a visible expression of the friend I’m celebrating.

A single rose or wildflowers with a ribbon when someone doesn’t expect it.    IMG_5228 Showing the grandeur of God’s beauty and His expansive love through flowers.

Healing happens very slowly as the petals unfold.

I lift you into the prayer below.

Jesus loves you so much.

You are His beautiful masterpiece created in the image of Almighty God.

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think- according to the power that works in you- to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen

Ephesians 3:20,21


Anonymous Quote from a recent interview on the Today Show with Sara Connell author of “Bringing In Finn” and inspiration for the upcoming movie “Return to Zero” starring Minnie Driver

Sara Connell author of Bringing in Finn

A Quiet Place With God – Part 12



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All over the world  women will pick up brooms to sweep crumbs from the kitchen, the front porch, the dining room and our entry’s, even though its Mothers Day.

Starter from Aunt Grace  Columbia, SC  in 2012

Starter from Aunt Grace
Columbia, SC in 2012

Seconds ago I relocated a large spider hanging out below my Christmas Cactus with my broom.

We all sweep.

Sweeping is a quiet place for me.

I visit with God about the messes moving about in my head and He sweeps them out.

When we  confess a struggle we have and your friend or friends come along side you, lifting you to the Lord, God sweeps you clean with His grace, His forgiveness.

He fills you with His strength.

He removes the cobwebs and the spiders.

Words That Heal – Part 12



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“What was healing to hear when your sister passed?” a good friend asked me recently.  Her son had just died tragically, her soul laid bare.  She knew I had lost a sister to cancer two years ago, and she was searching for hope and comfort.

For me, my deep sorrow had transitioned more into wondering about her in heaven in a positive way, than in my earliest months in a sea of sorrow.  Tears no longer rush uncontrollably to the forefront and stream down my face at every thought.   Grief is a journey, a very slow process of healing where the white water rapids eventually yield over time to  less swift currents that carry us to more peaceful and living waters.  It would be the same for her, and in her own unique way.  Everyone goes through the journey.

Without words, I just held her close.

Peg, my sister,  loved birds of all kinds, and every time I see a cardinal sit and eat the corn at my squirrel feeder,  I think of her and its as if we laugh together.

Cardinal by Kelly Bryant

Cardinal by Kelly Bryant Photography

She was St. Francis to the birds and squirrels who came to her bird feeder each and every day.   When she passed, my friend Heather Reimann said it best,

” I see how upset you are, do you want to talk about it?”

Heather was and remains a faithful and healing presence in my life.

We drank fresh strawberry smoothies and swam.

Tears turned to laughter.

Thirteen words were healing to me.




Cardinal by Kelly Bryant      fineartamerica.com/profiles/kelly-bryant.html




The Suffering of Jesus by Lee Southard



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The Suffering of Jesus
As Christians at Easter we rejoice in the fact of a risen Lord.

We easily do that and it makes us feel good. But do we realize the true price paid in understandable human terms to get to that resurrection?
I sit here on Good Friday with a little discomfort due to an illness I have and the therapy I am receiving.

I cannot go out much or too far.

That’s good because it gives me time to deeply contemplate the sufferings of Jesus prior to his death, which on a scale of 1 to 10, mine is a 0.002 and his was 10 plus.

Because of His extreme suffering His death would have seemed like a welcome event for Him.

Based on some knowledge I have of His sufferings a little research adds to the knowledge base but most importantly helps connect me with his sufferings.

When I realize the agony of His sufferings and understand that he endured for me the unfathomable pain it is as the song How Great Thou Art puts it “I scarcely can take it in that on that cross He bled and died for me”.

My soul groans with the agony of it. It brings to reality the love He has and God has for me and you.

Contemplate on this as you read the following.

We know Jesus while God in Spirit was every bit as human as you and I.

So picture yourself or a loved one going through what He went through in the following narrative taken from expert medical sources.
Before the cross Jesus began a process of psychological suffering. It started with betrayal by one of His disciples who had been with Him for His three years of ministry of teaching and healings. From there he was abandoned by more of his friends as went to pray in Gethsemane and assure His father that the father’s will would be done.

He agonized over what was before Him. This agony was in the form of extreme stress because He knew His death and ultimate resurrection was to be preceded by the most awful and cruelty man could inflict upon another. Imagine yourself in the same situation.
Psychological stress is known medically to lead to a condition called hematidrosis, a condition where severe stress causes chemicals to be released that can break down the capillaries in the sweat glands whereby blood is secreted through the sweat glands. The Bible reports He sweated blood. It is also reported that hematidrosis also leads to a heightened skin sensitivity. This is important as we consider later sufferings.
Jesus was brought before religious and ultimately Roman authorities in the middle of the night who had but one agenda to see him tried and condemned to death. It was not a fair trial and not done according to Jewish law and conducted by His own people he came to save.

The experience was a humiliating to Him and in spite of an appeal to the ultimate Roman authority who found no fault with him he was sentenced to be crucified as a politically expedient measure.
Roman floggings were extremely brutal and done by trained executioners whose sole purpose was to create so much pre cross trauma on the one to be crucified that crucifixion would lead to a more rapid death, which it did. Floggings were usually thirty nine lashes (Jewish law allowed 40) with a flagrum, a cat of nine tails, imbedded with metal balls and sharp bone were considered standard and would rip and tear tissue to the point where often the internal organs would be exposed. The whippings (or rippings) would have covered to neck, shoulders, back, buttocks and legs. The strands of the flagrum would wrap around the back and legs and when pulled back suddenly would rip and tear tissue deeply. Veins and muscle would be torn into bloody strands and the pain unimaginable for us.

Once it was determined that the sufferer was near death the beatings would be halted. Eusebius, a third century historian described flogging as “The sufferers veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.” The term excruciating comes from this experience. Excuciating means “out of the cross”. Many did not survive the beating.
After the flogging and being at a point just before death Jesus must now carry His own cross to Golgatha where He will be crucified. Jesus carried the cross member that makes the cross. This wooden member weighed from 75 to 125 pounds and would be difficult for a healthy man to carry. But Jesus had been flogged to near death and yet he carried this cross through the streets of Jerusalem while being mocked and spit on by a crowd. (I have to digress here and say Jesus had to have been physically fit man before He began his ordeal where He was able to lift that cross and begin the walk. Anyone who says being like Jesus is not manly doesn’t know what they are talking about.) He stumbles and falls and a man from Cyrene (Libya) takes the cross the remaining distance to Golgotha where Jesus is crucified.
Already, near death and in excruciating pain Jesus is thrown upon the rough wooden cross where the open wounds in his back are against the rough wood. Then 5 to 7 inch spikes are nailed through His wrists and feet and the cross is pulled up and set down into a hole as Jesus’s whole weight is now supported only by the nailed feet and hands.

Excruciating pain!
There he hangs and begins a slow death by asphyxiation as the chest and diaphragm is in an inhaled position. To get air and to exhale he must push up with His nailed feet against excruciating pain. He must do this again and again each time scraping his raw back against the rough wood. During this process the ultimate abandonment occurs when Jesus asks God “Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus has been totally laid out for our sins. He has paid it all.
Finally exhaustion gives way to not being able to push up and breath and respiratory acidosis takes over. Respiratory acidosis occurs when the carbon dioxide in the blood turns to carbonic acid causing the blood to become more acidic. This leads to an irregular heart rate and ultimate cardiac arrest. Concurrently with the acidosis Jesus and due to blood and fluid loss Jesus would be experiencing hypo-polemic shock and a rapid heart rate contributing to the heart failure. The result is a collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart and around the lungs called pericardial and pleural effusion respectively. When the Roman soldier thrust the spear into Jesus’s side to see if he was dead the spear passed through the lungs and maybe the heart to get a clear liquid. This was followed by blood as described by the apostle John in his gospel. This was a sign of death. There was no need to break His legs to speed up the process.
Jesus was dead. He has endured hours of suffering and excruciating pain. It was 3:00 PM on a Friday. It is now 3:00 Pm on this Friday, the 18th of April 2014 and I will stop only to say.
We take the death and resurrection of Jesus for granted perhaps.

We see people die during our lives and we can grasp it. We can understand somewhat that to lay down your life for friend as an example of love.

But it seems another level of love to knowingly suffer, to suffer excruciatingly, for another and then die.
I scarcely can take it in that on that cross He bled and suffered and died for me so that on believing on Him I too can be resurrected into eternal life.

It was God’s plan all along for you. What’s your response?Image

A Quiet Place With God- Part 11



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Outside my window tonight the rain is coming down sideways.

A night storm with a morning dove perched her nest.

Protecting her eggs

My stomach lurches.


I’m involved.

Asking God to hold her steady.

Gazing any chance I can to see if she is at her post.

The challenges and opportunities our children face, develop the gleam in their eye.

A confident step.

They often have circumstances with wind and rain pelting sideways and days the clear blue sky smiles and kisses their lives.

They’ve had to struggle through many surprises and challenges, just like the baby doves will to fight out of the shell.

If we’ve done our job we’ve been close by at our post praying, encouraging, and standing guard, but breaking off that shell is their job.

The shell breaking and the flight that follows is all theirs.

A Quiet Place with God – Part 10



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Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. Mark 16: 14 HCSB


While hiking I was struck by the tree on the left and how lush and green and full of life.

The tree on the right was dead.

We grow and flourish as we listen to Gods word and take action to change when He convicts us and rebukes us with His Word.

Listen and receive the rebuke.

Most of our family has given up coffee, but I still make it for one.

As the coffee drinker woke late to find no coffee, I simply said “Wake five minutes early and make it yourself.”


God immediately rebuked me quietly in my heart and I made the coffee and ran it to my beloved coffee drinker and handed a to go cup through the window.

My day had begun in the Word and contemplation just an hour before, but I had chosen a harsh response.

Conviction comes as we clear our minds and focus on the Word

The Lord will give us the self-control and  Holy Spirit to do His will and be His vessel.

The rebuke put me back onto His path.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:6

IMG_5125Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”

Mark 16:15 HCSB


A Quiet Place With God – Part 9



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My fingers snuggle into my fuzzy gloves.

His perfect peace settles my soul.

Crisp, cool morning air and the still darkness calm me. IMG_4930

Bluebonnets patiently await my notice.

A quiet where silence is unsettled only by the wind and bird songs.

Nature is deliberate and impatient.

I called to you Lord in my distress and you answered me and put me in a spacious place.

The Lord is with me I will not be afraid!
Psalm 118 v 5

Driving through a neighborhood near our home we noticed a young, pony-tailed mom plunked down on the sidewalk happily pulling weeds.

My husband  joked that she looks like she’s settled in for the long haul.

What led to her weed pulling?  Why on this cold, wet and dreary afternoon?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s as a good friend’s very active young son regularly tells her, in his moments of exasperation,

“I’m going outside to explode!”

We all need a little fresh air.


Quiet waiting before the Lord in prayer will give Him a chance to change your mood.

The situation may not change, but you will have changed for the better in spite of the situation.

Robert A. Cook

Words That Heal – Part 11



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During the teenage years, your presence is terribly important. It’s difficult for you to pass on wisdom in words. I think if you’re going to pass anything on, it’ll be by example, through your behavior- and not just one bit of behavior but consistent behavior over many years.

Emma Thompson

Everyone needs a safe place to share, someone who will hear them, someone who as my husband Todd says, is a faithful presence in their life.

Sharing their story.

Thinking out loud and dreaming.

Knowing you care and you are listening to them with all your attention and with all your heart.


Some of the most healing words are the ones you speak quietly to Lord.

Pray for His wisdom in their life not yours.

The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding, but only a fool wants to show off his opinions.  Proverbs 18:2 HCSB

*More Magazine Interview with Emma Thompson by Leah Rozen, Freelance Writer from NYC,

December 2013/January 2014 page 118

* Artistic Cookies by Colleen Lienhard

A Quiet Place with God – Part 8



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The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.  

Blaise Pascal

Do you ever feel a bit unglued?

I do.

I teach sunday school, and  we made a project with glitter, rocks and massive amounts of glue.

We even added glue with glitter. The lid fell off and a river of sparkly navy glue flowed over the paper.

A beautiful river of deep blue glue.

All the children wanted on their papers was lots of sticky sparkly glue.

The kind of project that parents never take home.

It just stays in the craft closet at church.

Don’t take your unglued self out.

Kneel down.

Photo by Kelly Bryant

Photo by Kelly Bryant

A few call it child’s pose.

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.     Abraham Lincoln

Now that you are down there, say a simple prayer.

You are my strength, I wait for you to rescue me, for you O God, are my place of safety.

Psalm 59  v.9

Stay there and focus on Him.

A Quiet Place With God – Part 7



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I arrived home from a long day at work to find a strange, small, white dog staring at me in my foyer with a prison orange scarf tied around her neck.

I called my husband “The mobile groomers dropped the wrong dog at our home, it’s a Shitzu, but it’s not ours.”

It was 6pm, our groomers. closed.

All I could do was sit and think of our dog at someone else’s home.

The sun began to set into an array of pinks, lavender, and even orange.

Sighing in the dark the two big eyes stared up at me.

The prison escapee was ours!

What seemed like a disaster to me was great joy to her.

She ran around the house like batman on steroids, or a man freed from jail.

The groomers had completely shaved the hair on our dog, even the tail, face and whiskers were not spared the clippers. Pink skin was peeking out everywhere.  Our dogs hair was normally 6-8 inches over its whole body much like a miniature sheep dog.

Cutting things out of your life gives you instant space and freedom.

More Quiet.

Remove enough encumbrances, not just hair, and it changes who you are.

Throw back the prison doors you’ve closed on yourself.

Sit in Gods glory.

Soak  in His Word in the psalms praising Him.

Let Him transform you as you contemplate His wonders.

Thank Him for all He has done for you.

Space moved into your day allows time for God to cast his vision into your life.

His greater purpose for your day.

Words That Heal – Part 10



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I arrived at her home having received her distressed call.  We really don’t have much in common except that we both  worked as shop girls at some point in our lives and have great stories we share about our customers.  Despite our differences we get along.

Gwen and I sat on her crisp, white slip covered sofa, , her pearl-colored cat slipping in right beside me.  The air was filled with tension, and the fragrance the sweet smell of roses.photo (14)

Her angular, modern home on Chicago’s North Shore was, as always, pristine.  Like her home, Gwen,  with her chiseled coal-black bob haircut and perfect makeup, was as equally and impeccably appointed in her dress and in her speech. The new gun-metal gray BMW she rarely drove sat quietly in the garage atop the white, oil free enameled floor.  Her car was the same combination of outward beauty that hides the power below the surface. Snow fell outside, breathtaking from her large glass windows.

Chad had gone ballistic on her in the middle of a large home building supply store earlier in the day. He had previously degraded her privately, using words and calling her names that ought not be repeated, but she had previously overlooked them, quietly giving permission to use them again.  For her, today was different as his profane put downs had an audience of store associates and contractors picking up supplies.

He always apologized and she always forgave him after the red long-stemmed roses would arrive.  And he always returned to the same behavior after a brief period of being on his best behavior.

The man she loved and lived with belittled her.

We opened to Colossians 1:9-14

I asked her to read aloud from the Bible.  This was a new thing for her, and God;s Words  seemed like a foreign language to her.

“For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints inheritance in the light.
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

She looked at me with tears in her eyes “I’m not worthy of a real relationship with God till I let go of Chad”
“I’m just not good enough”
“I love him, I can’t give him up”
We repeated the pattern of meeting, praying and seeing what God’s Word had to say to her.
She stepped out in faith.
She learned that Jesus will take us right where we are at.

She was imprisoned in her beautiful home, believing she was in a life she could not escape, chained to a man who was not her husband, but on this day the power of God’s Word healed her.

*Minor details altered to conceal Gwen’s identity

Words That Heal – Part 9



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Long holiday conversations give opportunity to affirm others for all the traits you love and respect about them.photo (23)

Some take the dance of a verbal self-indulgence.

A well placed put down lifts their ego.

But at whose expense?

“Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on high ground where you can point your fingers at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. ” (Romans 2:1, The Message)

Give yourself and others a gift this Christmas.       IMG_4481

Bite your tongue.

Choose to give life with your words.


Let God instruct your words

That which I know not, Teach thou me, O Lord, my God.     Amy Carmichael

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Latkes



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1 very large sweet potato shredded in food processorIMG_4440

1/2 c Gluten Free All Purpose Baking FlourIMG_4441
1/2 ts salt
2 eggs

Toss flour around shredded sweet potatoes until coated. Add 1/2 chopped onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set in the refrigerator until ready to fry and add two eggs to coat all before frying in coconut oil or similar high heat frying oil.


The guide for my recipe came from Amy Sherman‘s recipe from  Tablet,

A New Read on Jewish Life.

Check it out! http://www.tabletmag.com/

*There are many sweet potato latke recipes, but hers seem to be the best with gluten-free flour.

Serve with roast chicken.


Words That Heal – Part 8



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I forgive you.   GOD

Nehemiah 9 verses 1- 5 the people of Israel confess their sin and worshipped for a quarter of their day.

For another quarter of the day they read the Book  of the Lord our God.

They made confession and worshipped.

Moving into a week of Thanksgiving join me in fasting, confession, and worship of the Lord God.

Bless Him, exalt Him and Praise His Name above all names.

Forgive others.

You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it,

the seas and all that is in them, and you preserve all of them, and the host of heaven worships you.   Nehemiah 9: 6

Praise Him.                     IMG_3657

Gluten Free Honey Pie



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Eat honey, my son (daughter), for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate; realize that wisdom is the same for you.

If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.  Proverbs 24:13,14 HCSBIMG_4409

1 Gillian’s unbaked pie shell                1 stick unsalted butter

3 eggs slightly beaten                            1 c coconut milk eggnog

1 c locally grown honey                         (or plain coconut milk)

1/2 c sugar                                                 2 T All Purpose Gluten Free FlourIMG_4413

Mix together the eggs, honey, sugar, gluten-free flour, melted butter, and coconut milk.

Pour into unbaked Gillian’s Pie Shell and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Carefully remove from oven and let pie set up for two hours in a cold place or overnight in the refrigerator.

Words That Heal – Part 7



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Tempted to say “I’m sorry you feel that way”


Two words

I’m sorry

Stripped away from any encumbrance

Healing happens as the one you’ve wounded hears your heart

Photo by Kelly Bryant

Photo by Kelly Bryant

Defending yourself seems relevant

It’s not

The extra words are an impediment to your freedom

Their forgiveness

Just I’m sorry

Photo by Kelly Bryant



Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese



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3 cups of uncooked macaroni                                      1 tsp salt


6 T butter    IMG_4334                                                                          Dash pepper

6 T gluten-free all-purpose baking mix

1/3 of a large Velveeta Cheese, cubed (or full package of Daiya Cheese)
IMG_39124 c milk or 1 c sour cream and 3 c whole milk (I use 4 c of almond milk)

Cook macaroni in salted water and drain. Melt butter, blend in flour, and add milk very slowly.  Cook until thick. Add salt pepper and cheese. Stir until cheese is melts. Mix sauce and macaroni. Pour into large pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes add up to 10 minutes till edges are golden.

IMG_4328Recipe note: Todd’s Mom served this recipe often. With four sons, they could eat the entire pan.  My alterations are only to use gluten-free noodles and a couple of alterations to avoid milk. When making for company if possible use milk and Velveeta.  Keep an eye on the casserole and let the edges get brown and the top bubbly! Great recipe to prepare on friday afternoon and enjoy all weekend.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chicken



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Photo by Rebecca Price

1 can of pumpkin                                             Dash of Worcestershire

1 cup chicken broth                                         3- 6 T sugar

Chicken, boneless, skinless                          Salt and Pepper to taste

1 onion chopped

1 red pepper chopped

Saute‘ red pepper and onion in chicken broth, add pumpkin, Worcestershire, 3-6 Tablespoons of sugar, salt and pepper.   Spray casserole dish with Spectrum Coconut spray or similar, place chicken in the pan and pour wet ingredients over the top and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.IMG_4317

The guide for my recipe came from a family favorite. Mrs. Patti Battram of St. Louis and her delicious Orange Chicken recipe. I’ll  post her recipe this week sometime. The Battram family and the Southard family have been the closest of friends for almost 50 years. My husband Todd and their son Rick met when they were four.

Gluten Free UT Burnt Orange Cornbread Cake (egg, wheat and milk free)



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IMG_4218Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1/2 c Gluten Free Bisquick

1 c pumpkin

1 c cornmeal

1/4 c unsweetened HEB applesauceIMG_4217

5 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup HEB Almond milk

4 ts. baking powder

1/4 c oil (vegetable or coconut)

Spray pan generously with Spectrum Coconut oil

Mix all ingredients and pour into a Texas or 9/13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees.

Allow cake to cool for an hour in the pan before flipping!

Perfect for picky tailgaters! The cake is most and delicious!

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Biscuits



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Our favorite Christmas gift is a Smithfield Ham and sweet potato biscuits.

Todd’s Mom mailed the box full of Virginia’s finest delicacies from she and Dad.

The sun touching our backs

Awakened up the steep hill by the scent of anguish

Crisp blue skies scented with smoky fall

Natures vivid colors celebrating her

A sea of stark black dress

Bowed low and silent

One of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches is this:

Do your work well and then be ready to depart when God shall call.

Tryon Edwards

Marilyn Southard did her work extraordinarily well.

The Lord called her home three years ago this week.

In Texas for speaking engagements, my dear friend Ann Kroeker was with me when I received the call.

IMG_41251 cup of Gluten Free Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix

3 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup mashed and cooked sweet potatoes ( if you are using wheat flour you can push it up to a full cup of sweet potatoes)

2 T. butter

1-2 tablespoons milk or enough to make a soft dough( I used coconut milk and it worked just fine)

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees ( I use my toaster oven )

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork. Stir in sweet potatoes. Add milk a little at a time and form a round.  Cover with Saran Wrap or place in a sealed container to chill for 30 minutes.  Turn dough out onto gluten-free Bisquick floured surface. Form a small round with the dough.

Cut out biscuits with a small juice glass or biscuit cutter.photo (73)

Place on greased pan. I like the spray coconut by Spectrum. It works great for higher temperatures.

Bake for 15-2o minutes, but keep an eye on the biscuits through the glass. If they are browning to lower the temp slightly.

Recipe courtesy Marilyn Southard

A Quiet Place With God – Part 5



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Then He will send rain for your seed that you have sown in the ground, and the food, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful.  Isaiah 30:23

IMG_4135A year ago a shuffle of steps came up my walk and a gushy splat followed, our door cracked to illuminate a trail of pony-tailed girls running and hiding behind a Fiat across the street.

Facebook revealed smashed pumpkins in our neighborhood around ten pm.

We were not alone.

I live with a couple of artists and the previous year we had a watermelon carved like Larry the Cucumber.

Quite popular for photo ops with the under five crowd.

This past year the creativity continued …IMG_2159

A Fiat is not the best place to hide and as I  ran off our porch and heard my family say, “Stop, turn around and get back inside… now!”

How often in conflict, when pressed by a foe, I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe;

How often, when trials like sea billows roll, Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul.

In Cynthia Healds,  Intimacy With Godshe teaches us to take refuge in God.

Our Moms Class spent the last week under her teaching and she emphasizes the Almighty offers the ultimate refuge for any need.

The Lord pulled me into a quiet place with Him.

One year later, the planter next to the crushed pumpkin is producing fruit.


Cynthia Heald, Intimacy With God, NavPress, P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs, CO 80935

Hymn quoted from Cynthia Heald. Intimacy with God, Chapter 5 – God Is a Refuge “Hiding in Thee,” lyrics by William O. Cushing, in Hymns for the Family of God, (Nashville: Paragon,1976), #70

A Quiet Place With God – Part 4



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Longing for escape?

Recapture quiet

Space with God


A meditative minute

Kneel before the Almighty

A place Holy


Kelly Bryant Photography           kelly-bryant.artistwebsites.com/index.html

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. Psalm 95 v 7 HCSB

A Quiet Place With God – Part 3



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How comfortable are you with silence?

It is easier to look wise than to talk wisely.   Saint Ambrose

Create a quiet place for your family to meet God.

Begin by simply softening your heart and being present for them.

Creating a refuge for our families to rest and be refreshed illustrates Christ‘s love.IMG_1029

Dr. Henry Cloud coaches leaders and as parents we are leading by who we are in all circumstances.


Our homes celebrate who we are by the feel one gets as they enter.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Proverbs 10:19

A willingness to change, and the respect you show your family happens by submission to the Creator in all aspects.

A wise man holds his tongue. Only a fool blurts out everything he knows. Proverbs 10:14

Mom and I  often sit quietly in her courtyard.

Her life-style uncluttered is a restful environment.

A quiet place with God.


Crazy for Tamarind



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This month our book club read Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg.  The book will be released as a movie and everyone enjoyed the harrowing trip into the amazon with Yossi.  Apparently it is a guys book and a great gift for the men in your life, but our club gave it an excellent rating and we are exclusively a women’s book club in our neighborhood.

Our hostess Clara (the one with the loquat tree in her yard) served a sensory delight of foods and one of his survival foods Tamarind.

Tamarind is the healthy equal to sour gummy worms. I could not stop eating them last night.  They would replace popcorn during a movie with all the tactile work involved. You crack them open and a delicious fruit waits inside. The consistency is a little like a fig. The taste is both sour and sweet.


A Quiet Place With God



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Packing lunch in the motionless morning

Spreading  seedy jam out to the edges

Bread always frozen and free of gluten

Cut by sharpest knife

Feet rooted to my kitchen spot

Sweet hush of fur waits for a walkIMG_3997
Snuggling with the neighborhood cats

Greeting Daisy as we sniff and stroll

Riding my heavy bike in the rain

The plump tires displace the puddles

Black water submits under the seam

Rubbery tire clenching to still muddy rain.

Gluten Free Baked Beans



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1 package of dry navy beans

1/4 c brown sugar

4 pieces of  turkey bacon ( I’ve found some excellent nitrate free at Natural Grocers)

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. molasses


Rinse and sort out the strange beans from the bag. Boil beans in 6 cups of water for two minutes.  Set for one hour.

Place beans in a crock pot and add 1/4- 1/2 pound of cooked turkey bacon, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 3 tablespoons of molasses.

Fill up crock pot with water covering beans with at least several inches of water and cook on low overnight for 6-8 hours.

Seems like a lot of work, but I was bringing dinner over to a friend who comes down with migraines after consuming pork and she is restricting salt.  The recipe is from HEB a food market in Texas near our home. The only changes I made to the recipe was to increase the bacon and use a crock pot instead of boiling on the stove for several hours. Canned beans contain trigger items for my sweet friend, but I love HEB Borracho Beans with Shiner Bock Beer.

The beans are just lightly sweet and perfect with eggs topped with basil leaves cut “chiffonade style” or thin strips with a scissors( a full leaf is too much for breakfast faire) and salsa in lieu of toast.

The meal I made for her had baked chicken and rice with a little chicken broth for flavor. The beans placed in a couple of mason jars.

This also is a perfect way to serve for a tailgate. I’ve transported beans unsuccessfully in my trunk, even placing the crock pot in box.

Pour beans into the jars, seal the tops and place in a pot with a hot brick (wrap in foil) and snuggle the glass with napkins.  The beans are easily consumed with a fork, standing at your tailgate.

Gluten Free Fried Chicken



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IMG_3872Our family has missed enjoying fried chicken together and we have been unsuccessful creating a mix that tastes like Mee Maws recipe.


We made fried chicken following directions on the package precisely and the chicken was scrumptious, making that wonderful crunch sensation as you bite into it.

The recipe I’m sharing takes the chicken to the level  served in Virginia down in the country.  Ready a bowl with two eggs and a little milk to coat the chicken in before dipping in the batter as per the box. We then rested the batter dipped chicken on a plate for 5 minutes, rolled it on a plate of the dry ingredients that come in the box, and re dipped it in the batter before frying.

Frying chicken is an art form in the south and I’ve found the key is not taking your eyes off it for a second or it gets too brown. Crispy fried chicken cannot be timed, it just has to look right and depending on how hot your oil becomes(most set the fryer to 375 degrees) my fryer broke so it was tricky to gauge the temp and fry.

We drain the excess grease off with old newspapers and serve hot or cold.

The five guys that have developed Choice Batter  have a website http://www.ChoiceBatter.com

We found Choice Batter at Target.

On the top of the box it states it is USDA patented batter.

Five guys with a fryer founded Crisp Tek in response to consumer demand for reducing fat in their diets, as well as the need for gluten-free and allergen-friendly cooking alternatives.

Well done men.

This Mom is very grateful, teen choice winner of the week!

Tex-Asian Chicken Bowl



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Chop 3 celery stalks                                                2 red potatoes

Saute in coconut oil till potatoes are golden brown.

Set aside and pour 1 cup of chicken broth on the veggie mix as it cools and one tablespoon of peanut butter,(Natural Grocers has fresh ground nuts that the guys and gals there have sold me, it’s nutty good).


Shred 2 leg and thigh combinations of baked chicken

(Todd grilled a chicken with rosemary on monday to enjoy all week)

Todd garnished with limes, cilantro, and Sriracha sauce.

IMG_3850Perfect saturday night dish to chow down while watching a movie.

The teens picked this as our top dish of the week!


Pop’s Gluten Free Yucatan Shrimp



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IMG_38501 large clove of garlic, minced

1/4 of jalapeno or chili pepper

Juice of 7  key limes                                

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon of Sriracha (HEB carries this in the Asian food aisle)

1 pound of shrimp                                                        2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on low heat adding garlic and stirring for two minutes.

Add more butter and stir in lime juice, Sriracha, salt and pepper.IMG_0607

Boil shrimp in well salted water and remove as soon as they are pink. This happens quickly…stay at the stove and drain well in a colander.

Toss everything into a lovely serving dish adding jalapeno and cilantro as your family arrives for dinner.  IMG_3851

*See the original recipe under Yucatan Shrimp – NYTimes.com by Sam Sifton

Published May 13, 2010 on page MM28 of the Sunday Magazine


Black-eyed Peas on New Years Day



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Looking for a recipe for prosperity and happiness in the New Year?

Psalm 1 is a place to start.

The Hebrew word ashrei, or blessedness comes from living out your life in accordance with God‘s will.

How do you know God’s will?

Everyday wake and immediately meditate on God’s word.  Praise Him!  Begin your day in adoration of  God the Creator of all.

Pray about it, pray the verse for anyone your Father has placed on your mind.

This morning I prayed for you and my family and friends.

Here’s how it sounded…. Happy are the friends who follow my blog, my family, my friends they who do not follow the advice of the wicked or take the paths of sinners.

Prosperity and happiness depends on your willingness to live in obedience to scripture.

But the humble will inherit the land and enjoy abundant prosperity.  Psalm 37:11 HSB

Humble in the Greek is translated poor in spirit — to be impoverished of self and concerned for the things of God.

What is God concerned about?

The world will tell you prosperity comes from a  cooked pot of black-eyed peas on New Years Day.  Our tradition in families differ, but cooking up a pot of these lovely legumes are a non-negotiable in southern families, ours is no different.  I’ve misplaced my cookbook so this is my twist on the tradition.

1 pound of black-eyed peas

Soak and cook a couple of days earlier tossing off the dirt (your old self) and discard any particles(regrets) in the water.

1 large can of chopped tomatoes

1 small onion finely chopped and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.

1 large garlic clove finely chopped and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.

Pepper to taste

Add a few small pieces of the leftover Smithfield Ham (Salt cured) before placing bowls on the table for your New Years Day Dinner.

Serve the simple dish with Udi’s gluten-free dinner rolls, and a salad.

Pull out all the stops with linens, candles, crystal and setting.

A humble dish and a table set for a King.

May you be favored and prosper in the New Year! May the Lord bless you in 2014 exceedingly and abundantly beyond your wildest imaginations!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith.  Ephesians 3:14-16 HCSB

Thank you very much for taking the time to follow my blog in 2013. You have been a great blessing to me and I look forward to praying for you and  writing more in 2014!



A Christmas Devotion



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My family was leaving a Chinese restaurant after lunch on Christmas Eve in 2006.  A little boy about 9 years old asked his Mom if he was Jewish?  She said “No!” and the boy shouted back “RATS!”
He then asked “What I am?”  Mom’s reply was too soft to hear.  It was a teachable moment as we backed our car out of the parking lot. I asked our daughter the same question — “Who are you?”
I knew even before she answered she would say “Child of God,” because over the years we have sought to share our Christian faith and heritage with her, so that she may know she is fearfully and wonderfully created by God.  The map to who we are, where we are and come from,  must be communicated to our children, our neighbors, and our coworkers, those in our spheres of relationships as well as others who are not.

The Christmas season the world offers is a Retail Christmas.  Though exchanging gifts brings great joy, without Christ at the center it will not lead us anywhere closer to the true essence of Christ and His message, but become a distraction at the very time of the year we set a day aside to celebrate Immanuel — God with us.  Bumbling along in a haphazard existence will give our children a life with no identity, no sense of who they are, and open them up to other’s values and beliefs, man’s way and not God’s way.  They will not have a map of life.

In Barbara Tompkins Mom’s Class last year we made Jesse Tree‘s ornaments.   Our family systematically read through the story of Christ and hung ornaments on a small pink feather tree as our Christmas decorations were all packed and ready for our move the Texas the next week.  It was a comical tree with a serious message in those Jesse Tree ornaments, the story of God found in the Bible, a message of

God’s love and provision of redemption found in Jesus Christ.   

We are all unpacked this Christmas, and instead of the pink feathered tree, we are back to our home-grown artificial tree as we again tell the story of who we are in Christ by telling the story of God and his redemptive plan of salvation.  Each ornament symbolizes an accompanying Bible story that, with the help of the book The Advent Jesse Tree, Devotions for Children and Adults Preparing for the Coming of Christ Child at Christmas (Nashville: Abington Press) directs us to a daily story from the Bible and provides songs of praise to sing as a family.

As Christmas arrives our anticipation is toward the greatest gift God has given the world — the birth of Jesus the Christ, God’s own Son, Immanuel — God with us.  The Scriptures read throughout the month show us The Way, providing a clear and concise map of who we are, the identity we have in our Lord Jesus, the hope of glory.

Resting in Him,


Apple Cider Vinegar Medium Roast


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It was dark when I entered the kitchen on Palm Sunday. I immediately noticed a half-full carafe of water on my husband’s coffee pot—what a pleasant surprise. I poured the water in the side cylinder and brewed up

photo of coffee mug on top of book

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

his favorite decaf Dunkin Donuts medium roast.

He walked out shortly after and said, “Oh, thank you, honey, how thoughtful.”, took a sip, and suddenly a vast expanse of quiet loomed.

“Ahh, I was cleaning the pot with vinegar last night, tastes like you may have used that water.”

Nice, what a way to begin your Sunday morning. Coffee and vinegar.

As we all spend extra time together sheltering in place, are your words edging on the sour?

Do they give grace to those who hear?

Are your Zooms and calls filled with words that build up others in need?

“No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29 HCSB


Cockroach Approach

depositphotos_31662597-Harlequin-CockroachStanding in the powder room, I noticed movement near my feet. I was fortunate to have my readers on and quickly grabbed my Mrs. Meyers dish soap, which is under every sink in our home, and squirted away. The spray did not slow Myrtle down. Side note, we grew up with a neighbor named Myrtle with sleek chocolate hair who plodded her feet hard as she walked. Beautiful woman, but we were all scared of her. She was on task, (the stream of a little soap and water were no challenge to her multiple legs approaching me. I next squirted her with Lysol toilet bowl gel. A lethal combo surely to slow her down. To no avail, her advance on me continued. I held my breath and smacked her with my Natural Grocer magazine. Ahhh, this was like fanning a southern lady in the fall, no affect. I took a deep breath and stepped on her. She was a grand roach, so it hurt to snuff her out, but alas, I was out of options.
What have you attempted to snuff out of your life unsuccessfully?
What do you allow to advance in your presence that you know is not God’s best in your life?
There is no reason to wait for God to come to you. You must turn your thoughts and your eyes away from the face of idols and look to Him and be saved. Is. 45:22
Spraying the bluebell liquid did not change the fact that a fabulously large roach was loose and soon to not only touch my shoes but be free in our home.
I glanced at the drain in the tub. It was open. When did I last pour bleach as a preventative measure? We had allowed Myrtle to waltz in and take up residence.
What needs to go in your life?
What do you need to evict forcibly?

Sweet & Sour


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Yesterday morning I opened the refrigerator, and suddenly the top shelf on the door collapsed to the floor. The plastic tray that held my pickles and leftover sweetened condensed milk gave way. Both glass jars shattered everywhere, spilling sweet and sour over my feet, the floor, the cabinets, and my soon to rush in 16-year-old Shitzu who lightning-fast found a piece of glass with condensed milk invitingly dripping off the edges. My quick hands removed the jagged and deadly morsel, much to Miss Daisy Mae’s chagrin.

What a mess.

As we move through the twelve days of Christmas, I’m examining my sweet and sour.

Examine the sweet, which may be good competing with the best?

What are the sours? What needs tossing out of my life?

Proverbs 27 verse 25 states, “When hay is removed, new growth appears.”