Reflection on Good Friday – Revisited

Pretty Crosses
Over the years I have accumulated some “pretty” crosses. I gathered some of them up today to take a look at them. And yes, once again, I thought they were very pretty and very decorative.

I have a friend who sends them to me every so often. She knows I like them. I think I like them because they remind me of her and they remind me of Grace. As I was looking at them I wondered if I also liked them because they were a picture of a neat and tidy Grace?

They are beautiful and there is no hint of the brutality that took place on that rough wooden cross so many centuries ago. There was nothing beautiful or tidy about that cross. It was ugly, harsh and had blood dripping down it. I don’t think my pretty crosses really show the full measure of the sacrifice made for us that day.

The only beautiful thing about it was the absolutely pure love of the one they nailed to it. His selfless act, His love of us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) amazes me, humbles me and calls for some type of response from me.

Last year I had just started blogging not too long before Good Friday. I am going to repost my blog from that day. After rereading it, I wanted to re-share it. I know some of you are going through hard places in your lives at this time and I pray it brings you hope in the promise that is the cross. The promise of the One who hung on that cross and was Hope made flesh.

The Chicken Grandma

Artwork by Joseph Kroese

Even as a kid I wondered why they called this day Good Friday.  In looking at the cross it never seemed like a good thing.  Reflecting on good things makes me realize that many things in life do not, on the surface or while in the midst of them, seem like good things.

I am pretty sure everyone can look at their life and the hard, dark places that come with living and wonder where that good part is hiding.  Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find even a slight glimmer of the good.  This is true, especially when you are in the middle of a hard place.  There are some hard things that you may not see that shimmer of light for several years and some maybe never while on this earth.  I am guessing that is where faith comes in and the hope of things unseen. (my slightly garbled…

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Oh NO!!!!

This is a “help!” post.

For some reason the comments I am leaving on some of your blog posts are not showing up. I found out from a fellow blogger that my comments on her blog had started going to her spam.  If you see that I have liked your post and I typically comment you may want to check spam as wordpress has decided to re route my comments to your spam folder.

This was the only way I could figure out to let you all know of this issue. Thank you to Cobs for letting me know that is what was happening. It happened with my comments on her post.

The Chicken Grandma

Two Blogging Awards

Blogger Recognition Award

It has come to my attention that I have been nominated for a couple blogging awards.  I know that in the past I have been nominated also. I had them all written down on a paper so I could deal with them in a timely manner……..and then the paper disappeared!

I have decided I should probably do these two awards quickly and not put them on a piece of paper, because I now know my track record on that!  I cannot even blame the downtime that I took to heal ; for losing that paper…..it was gone long before I had surgery.  (It has been really useful to blame anesthesia for forgetting things!)

For a long time I was in denial about losing that paper….but no longer.  It is gone for good.  So……if you nominated me in the past and I never responded….please do not be offended. I never know quite how to respond to awards as there are so many great sites out there and I hate to choose just certain ones for awards.

Anyway back to the current awards…..

I was nominated by Tricia over at Kindergartenknowledge for the Blogger Recognition Award. You really need to get over to her blog. She blogs about so many things and is such a good read. You will not regret it and I am confident you will find a new blog to follow.

Award Rules:

*Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
*Write a post to show your blog award.
*Give a brief story about how your blog started.
*Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
*Select 15 bloggers you want to give this award to.
*Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

Brief Blogging Story: I started blogging a little over a year ago. My kids had been after me to blog but I was not really sure what I would have to write that anyone would want to read!

One Sunday afternoon my daughter-in-law (known as my web guru) was on her computer. I asked her what she was working on (she designs websites for a living and has a business called Skwintz). She informed me she was setting up my blog. That day I wrote my first blog post and have been at it ever since.

Two pieces of advice on blogging….hmmmmmm.  That is hard because I still cannot quite wrap my head around the fact I DO blog.  Someone called me writer awhile back and it startled me because it feels more like I am just having a conversation with all of you out there. Kind of like a pen pal relationship!

Anyway….back to advice. (Pretty sure the anesthesia is still messing with my focus LOL). I would first tell you to have fun with it. Write about whatever you love, are passionate about and write about what you know.

When I started my family had a big blog naming session. My oldest thought I should call it Confessions of a Chicken Grandma. I thought that sounded a bit racy. He laughed and said “Yep, draw them in and then tell them about Jesus!” (Our family is slightly off-center!) I shortened it to The Chicken Grandma.

My second bit of advice is to not stress if you don’t meet your self-inflicted blogging deadline. People are gracious and just happy when you show up again. Life is much to short to sweat the small stuff.

I am going to pass on the 15 blogger nominations. I know so many blogs who should be recognized. At some point if I could figure out how to put the blogs I follow on a sidebar I would encourage you to check those out. I would also encourage anyone to go ahead and take this as an invitation to do this award!

Now for the second Award.  The Blue Sky Award.

I was nominated for this one by AAALYolly. Her blog is full of energy and optimism and she writes about whatever interests her at that time. You will not be disappointed if you make your way over to her blog and check it out. Thank you for nominating me!

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the person(people) who nominated you.
  2. Answer their 11 questions.
  3. Tag 11 people.
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer.

These are the questions I was given to answer:

  1. Who is your favorite author?
  2. What is your greatest achievement in your life so far?
  3. Do you believe that the word for-ever is still existing nowadays? If yes, why? If no, why?
  4. Who has been the most important person in your life?
  5. Did you ever cheated on your partner?
  6. What are your two (2) favorite quotations from any of your favorite authors?
  7. Do you believe in God?
  8. What is your favorite color?
  9. What was your childhood like?
  10. When did you first fall in love?
  11. What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

Okay…here are the answers:

My favorite author…..that is a tough one as I love to read a variety of things. I am going to name a few as I really cannot narrow it down!  I love books by Ted Dekker…he makes me think.  Louis L’Amour is another favorite. Mary Higgens Clark is good. I also like anything that is written by Max Lucado.

Greatest Achievement So Far:  Being a wife to my husband of almost 37 years, mom to our three sons and grandma to 2.5 grandkids. Family is huge to me.

The Word For-Ever: Yep it is still true today….at least for me. Family is forever. God is forever and never changes. His love never ever fails and is forever.

Most Important Person: More than one……family, friends….they helped make me who I am in this life.

Ever Cheat on Partner: Never.

Favorite Quotes: “Not all who wander are lost.”  Tolkein (I know I did not list him as a favorite author, but I like his stuff)  “Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven , so don’t expect it to be.” Max Lucado.

Belief in God: Absolutely! Else what is this world all about? Just being good or existing is not a good enough reason to be sucking in my next breath.

Favorite Color: Green…..new life.

Childhood:  Typical small town Midwest childhood. Played hard, worked hard, two-parent family, went to church on Sunday and was taught faith was something I needed to claim for myself.

Fell In Love: First for real love….my husband. Started dating him when I was 19.  First not for real love…..probably my cat named Sam.

Best Childhood Memory: Lazy, muggy summer nights spent laying on a blanket in the back yard with my folks looking at the stars and visiting with neighbors.  Worst: Chopping my index finger with a hatchet while working for an older lady known as the Goose Lady. (she had geese and I am seeing a blog post coming on this one!)

Now on to the nominations for both of these awards:

https://beaconsoflife.live/
https://atimetoshare.me/
https://carentaylor.wordpress.com/
https://rhythminlife.net/about/
https://kindergartenknowledge.com/about/
https://aaalyolly.wordpress.com/about-her/
https://onetahayes.com/about/
https://onceuponahotflash.com/about/
https://threepsandq.wordpress.com/about/
https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/about/
https://invisibleillnessesblog.wordpress.com/about-me/
https://aquietandpeaceablelifeblog.wordpress.com/about/
https://craftandothercrazyplans.com/
https://rabbitpatchdiary.com/
Merhling Muse

Okay, I know I said I was going to pass on nominations……I am also a born rule follower so I did the nominations. I still would like to invite anyone to participate in these awards. Please pick both or either awards.  I know I also renominated the people who nominated me because I figured maybe they had not done the “other” award. Please don’t feel pressured to participate if you do not wish to. Keep it fun. And if you are a blog-free site just ignore this nomination.

Also I had better come up with 11 questions for the Blue Sky Award.

  1. Best Childhood Memory
  2. First pet you ever had.
  3. Funniest family memory.
  4. Best blog post you have done so far.
  5. Favorite book and why
  6. Something you hate to do.
  7. Favorite food
  8. One item on your “bucket list”
  9. Most beautiful thing you have ever seen.
  10. Favorite crafting thing to do or do you hate crafts?
  11. What is the first question you ask someone you just met?

All right have fun with this people!  Oh I should tell you the blogs I posted are a random grouping of blogs that I like. They range from poetry, faith, crafts and everything in between. I hope you enjoy checking them out. And if you have already done these nominations just ignore them this time around if you choose!

Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement
to keep getting better,
no matter how young or old you are.
Alan Alda

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanalda597637.html?src=t_awards

Rainy Days…..

Thank You Card.JPG

The last couple days we have been enjoying some really nice weather that gave us a taste for summer…..at least it gave me a taste for those warm summer days.  This morning our territory was once again sent back to a rainy, gray day. I have to admit it really wasn’t so bad once my husband got the woodstove going…….in fact it was downright cozy sitting in my living room today.

It seemed like the perfect type of day to do a little more card making. I think I was rather inspired by the day I spent card making with my sister last week. This time around I only made one type.

After sorting through my stash of stuff I discovered a bag of cards and envelopes I had purchased at a second hand store. One grouping of ten looked promising to be re-purposed into Thank You cards.  The only thing I needed to cover was a small square on the front that originally had featured a pair of wine glasses .

I made some small blue squares for that space and stamped the Thank You stamp from the set, Lotus Blossom.  I then used Stampin Up sets; Gorgeous Grunge, Four Feathers, and the Feather Framelits Die Set to cut the feathers out. I used a brad to attach them to the card stock……and I was good to go.

I was pretty pleased how they turned out……especially using repurposed note cards.  Now I need to spend some time writing in them. I have people I need to thank for the graciousness I have been shown in the last couple weeks. My husband and I are amazed at the visits, food, and well wishes sent our way since my surgery.

All those actions have filled my heart.  It seemed fitting to make these cards on a rainy day that is sustaining the earth with moisture.  Just as the rain waters the ground….. so many of you have watered my soul with your caring and love.

Life truly is about relationship and I have witnessed true relationship so often these last weeks while I have been recuperating and it is beautiful.  I am so grateful for all of you.   You truly set the standard for caring. It has challenged me to pass that caring on to the next person in need of it. You have paved the way and have been an inspiration……I am blessed and I thank you.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”
John 15:12

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verse-about-helping-others-21-top-scriptures/#ixzz4cll6o200

Pasta Casserole

 

Pasta Casserole

I used one of my freezer meals today. Prior to surgery I had put some of these together so my husband would only have to pop them in the oven or microwave the first couple weeks after my surgery.

The one I hauled out for today was the Pasta Casserole one. I have a feeling I found the base recipe somewhere on Pinterest but I have long forgotten where so if this is your recipe and I have not given you credit I apologize. I have tweaked it to my own taste and liking and this is the recipe I ended up with.

Pasta Casserole

Brown and drain:
2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons Italian Dressing

Add:
2 – 26 ounce Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce
16 ounce elbow or rotini noodles (cooked and drained)
5 cups mozzarella (20 ounces)
Reserve 2 cups of cheese for the top of casseroles.
8 ounces sliced pepperonis for top.

Put in 2 – 9×13 foil pans or equivalent smaller size foil pans.
Put mixture in pans.
Top with reserved cheese.
Top with sliced pepperonis.
Cover and freeze for later use.
or
Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.
If frozen, make sure to thaw completely and Bake at 350º for 35 – 40 minutes.

These work wonderful, when you are in a busy time of life or when you want to bring a meal to someone who is needing one. I tend to make them in 4 square foil pans as it is a filling meal and my husband is not crazy about tomato type products. When I serve this I usually sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top also.

 I love the fact that with some minimal effort I can have 4 meals in my freezer just waiting to be baked or given away.  I really like that when I have some of these in my freezer there are days I don’t even have to think about what to make…..that is a huge plus at this present time.

I am wondering what are some of your favorite shortcuts when it comes to mealtime? What works  best for you to spend less time prepping for meals everyday and more time enjoying those extra moments with your family instead?

 

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:15-16 ESV

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates

Kaleidoscope of Grace

Cursillo Weekend.JPG

My mind is whirling, my heart is full and my soul is content.  The road taken to a good weekend at a women’s retreat does wonders for renewing and refreshing. I am not sure why I am always surprised when God shows up…..He has never failed to show up yet….but yes, I am always still surprised in a wonderful way.

I spent this past weekend at a place called Inspiration Hills. It was the location of the Christian women’s retreat where I was privileged to serve. The retreat was put on by Northwest Iowa Cursillo and it was a wonderful time of connecting with women, listening to talks on God’s grace and ministering to each other.

Today, it has been hard to focus on the everyday tasks of the everyday in my home.  My mind wanders and a grin comes to my face with the vivid memories of the weekend. I can close my eyes and see a kaleidoscope of pictures from the weekend.

Pictures of open Bibles, women praising and worshipping, tears falling as past hurts were let go, strangers becoming friends and genuine smiles. Pictures of delicious meals served by cooks with huge smiles, beds made by women who were giving of their time, and women kneeling in prayer for those they only knew by name. Pictures of grace in the flesh.

Women went home to the same trials, the same heartaches, the same problems and issues they had before……but they went home equipped with a stronger faith to deal with them. They went home knowing they had a network of women who were not going to let them fall. They went home knowing that in the brokenness God does indeed make beauty out of ashes.

Today it is back to doing the everyday tasks that are part of the everyday in my home. The difference is I am doing them in the after-glow of a grace filled weekend……and that is a wonderful blessed way to do those everyday tasks.

 

“God uses broken things.
It takes broken soil to produce a crop,
broken clouds to give rain,
broken grain to give bread,
broken bread to give strength.
It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume.
It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

Vance Havner