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And when I say easy I’m seriously not kidding. Two ingredients.

Now some of you know me and I couldn’t stand the thought of two ingredients. Seemed just too simple. So I made my own lemon curd. (Call me a show off I know) But I have to say the canned is still pretty darn good. IF you don’t have lemon pie filling or you want to try something  a step above use Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. It was so very good.

It is very lemony and creamy. I used organic lemon juice from Costco. Made it with 5 eggs (instead of 4) and 1 cup (instead of 1/2 cup) sugar. Took about 20 minutes to thicken.

It was fantastic! A great balance of tangy and sweet.  Also not having to separate the eggs makes the prep much easier, and it comes together beautifully. You can use it to fill small pastry cups and add a fresh berry in each. Easy refreshing dessert. Perfect on store bought pound cake. Great on pancakes!

You can use her recipe for all kinds of citrus such as grapefruits and tangerines. Great for gift giving too! Think scones and tea and friends. Think about why we do what we do. Loving others with our lives. The table is one wonderful place to do that.

Enjoy. You are going to love this one!

Two Ingredient Lemon Bars

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package angel food cake
mix

1 (21 ounce) can lemon pie filling
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Combine the angel food cake mix with the lemon pie filling in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

If you desire you can make glaze to pour over the top:  Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar for a thin glaze. Drizzle over bars and cut into squares.


Homemade Lemon Curd
Ingredients

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Serves:  3 cups

Directions

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

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When we encounter another person, we always have a choice about how to respond to him or her. Sadly, not all our typical responses are the kind that reveal Jesus to the world.

For instance, it’s so easy to look away instead of really looking at the people around us.

We focus our attention on ourselves—what we need to do, how busy we are,

how little money we have, how difficult our lives are at the moment, what important issues need our attention.

I’ve done this way too many times, and I’m sure you have too. It’s basically the same response as the lawyer and the Pharisee who hurried by the wounded man in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.

Even more commonly, I find, we can respond to those we encounter with judgment and criticism—by keeping our eyes on the other person’s sins and shortcomings. We choose to give our opinions rather than acknowledging our common humanity. And even if we would never do this out loud, we may do it mentally—assuming we know what made them what they are or what they should be doing or what’s going on with them.

It’s so easy to fall into doing this on a little or a large level—to categorize people on the basis on what they’re wearing, what they look like, how they act, what we believe they may be thinking or doing. Because our vision is limited, it’s all too easy to jump to conclusions. We need the reminder of a quote that I’ve often seen:

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

Another possible way to respond to other people, especially people in need, is to patronize them—to help them without really seeing them. It’s absolutely possible to give to others or serve them without actually loving them. It’s possible to interact without engaging—without actually entering others people’s reality or paying attention to what they really need. When we do that, we miss the opportunity to really see that other person and to show them Jesus’ heart.

A very common substitute for really seeing someone is to try to change the other person, to basically offer our help and attention in exchange for the other person’s response. This is another way of making it all about us—our opinions, our requirements. We attempt to assert control by laying down ground rules. We’ll give money … if it’s used for food and not alcohol. We’ll invite someone over … if that person invites us back. We’ll help others … if those others are properly grateful. This, too, misses the point of seeing Jesus in others and being Jesus to them.

Now, this last issue can be a little tricky because in some cases we do help another person by holding him or her accountable for change. But in my opinion, this is only appropriate if we’ve earned the right to do that by becoming fully engaged in the other person’s life, being current. And only if we do it with the other person’s permission.

It’s just so easy to miss out on the chance to see Jesus and be Jesus to the people we encounter.

But we don’t have to miss out. We always have another option. The option to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s nudge and obey the commands of Scripture. The option to open our eyes and our hearts and hands.

To see Jesus in others.

To be Jesus to them.

Learning to do that may take a lifetime, but it’s an adventure worth living.

Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.


 

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I don’t know of anything more difficult then the on going issue of forgiveness.


I must say the more I read and live, the more I am learning true forgiveness is a daily choice.

And it is a choice to live free.

Seth Barnes sent out this article tonight from the Mayo Clinic. (http://www.sethbarnes.com/?filename=fighting-pure-evil-finding-grace)  It focuses on the reality of how to let go of anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge to how to embrace forgiveness and move forward.

It is not only practical in nature it is powerful in spirit.

I hope it will encourage you as much as it did me.

Forgiveness: How to let go of grudges and bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Photo of Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D.Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D.


Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even vengeance. But when you don’t practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Here, Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.What is forgiveness?

There’s no one definition of forgiveness. But in general, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you. This can reduce the power these feelings otherwise have over you, so that you can a live freer and happier life in the present. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Doesn’t forgiving someone mean you’re forgetting or condoning what happened?

Absolutely not! Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stress reduction
  • Less hostility
  • Better anger management skills
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Fewer depression symptoms
  • Fewer anxiety symptoms
  • Reduction in chronic pain
  • More friendships
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater religious or spiritual well-being
  • Improved psychological well-being

Why do we hold grudges and become resentful and unforgiving?

The people most likely to hurt us are those closest to us — our partners, friends, siblings and parents. When we’re hurt by someone we love and trust — whether it’s a lie, betrayal, rejection, abuse or insult — it can be extremely difficult to overcome. And even minor offenses can turn into huge conflicts. When you experience hurt or harm from someone’s actions or words, whether this is intended or not, you may begin experiencing negative feelings such as anger, confusion or sadness, especially when it’s someone close to you. These feelings may start out small. But if you don’t deal with them quickly, they can grow bigger and more powerful. They may even begin to crowd out positive feelings. Grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility take root when you dwell on hurtful events or situations, replaying them in your mind many times. Soon, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. You may feel trapped and may not see a way out. It’s very hard to let go of grudges at this point and instead you may remain resentful and unforgiving.

How do I know it’s time to try to embrace forgiveness?

When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness and even hatred, many areas of our lives can suffer. When we’re unforgiving, it’s we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up in the wrong that we can’t enjoy the present. Other signs that it may be time to consider forgiveness include:

  • Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense
  • Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you’re wallowing in self-pity
  • Being avoided by family and friends because they don’t enjoy being around you
  • Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights
  • Often feeling misunderstood
  • Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain
  • Having symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment
  • Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations
  • Regretting the loss of a valued relationship
  • Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose
  • Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs

The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can take time. Everyone moves toward forgiveness a little differently. One step is to recognize the value of forgiveness and its importance in our lives at a given time. Another is to reflect on the facts of the situation, how we’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected our lives, our health and our well-being. Then, as we are ready, we can actively choose to forgive the one who has offended us. In this way, we move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives. Forgiveness also means that we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As we let go of grudges, we’ll no longer define our lives by how we’ve been hurt, and we may even find compassion and understanding.

What happens if I can’t forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be very challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn’t admit wrong or doesn’t speak of their sorrow. Keep in mind that the key benefits of forgiveness are for you. If you find yourself stuck, it may be helpful to take some time to talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider or an unbiased family member or friend. It may also be helpful to reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who have forgiven you. As you recall how you felt, it may help you to understand the position of the person who hurt you. It can also be beneficial to pray, use guided meditation or journal. In any case, if the intention to forgive is present, forgiveness will come in its time.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

Not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you were attacked or assaulted. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible, even if reconciliation isn’t. On the other hand, if the hurtful event involved a family member or friend whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to reconciliation. This may not happen quickly, as you both may need time to re-establish trust. But in the end, your relationship may very well be one that is rich and fulfilling.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don’t want to?

These situations are difficult. If the hurt involves a family member, it may not always be possible to avoid him or her entirely. You may be invited to the same family holiday gatherings, for instance. If you’ve reached a state of forgiveness, you may be able to enjoy these gatherings without bringing up the old hurts. If you haven’t reached forgiveness, these gatherings may be tense and stressful for everyone, particularly if other family members have chosen sides in the conflict.

So how do you handle this? First, remember that you do have a choice whether to attend or not attend family get-togethers. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to go, don’t be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. It’s important to keep an eye on those feelings. You don’t want them to lead you to be unjust or unkind in return for what was done to you. Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol as a way to try to numb your feelings or feel better — it’ll likely backfire. And keep an open heart and mind. People do change, and perhaps the offender will want to apologize or make amends. You also may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

How do I know when I’ve truly forgiven someone?

Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as “I forgive you” or tender actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for compassion, kindness and peace. Also, remember that forgiveness often isn’t a one-time thing. It begins with a decision, but because memories or another set of words or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over and over again.

What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?

Getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life. Through forgiveness, you choose to no longer define yourself as a victim. Forgiveness is done primarily for yourself, and less so for the person who wronged you.

What if I’m the one who needs forgiveness?

It may help to spend some time thinking about the offense you’ve committed and trying to determine the effect it has had on others. Unless it may cause more harm or distress, consider admitting the wrong you’ve done to those you’ve harmed, speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness — without making excuses. But if this seems unwise because it may further harm or distress, don’t do it — it’s not about making yourself feel better by apologizing. You don’t want to add salt to a painful wound. Also, keep in mind that you can’t force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time.

In any case, we have to be willing to forgive ourselves. Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don’t make you worthless or bad. Accept the fact that you — like everyone else — aren’t perfect. Accept yourself despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect. And again, talking with a spiritual leader, mental health provider or trusted friend or relative may be helpful.

Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life. Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37


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Has anything like this ever happened to you?

You might not have seen a light or experienced a vision. But maybe you’ve had one of those moments when everything seems to come clear and you suddenly understand something in a whole new way. When you find yourself newly and intensely aware of God’s presence. When you are granted the gift of peering past the veil and you just know you’ve encountered the God who sees you. Something clicks in your mind and soul and spirit, and you suddenly think, Yes!

It’s called an epiphany moment. And if it has ever happened to you, you know what a true miracle it can be.

Showimage.ashx

It happened to me about this time last year, while I was sitting in the car with my daughter Mackenzie.

Car on snowy road

Actually, the whole thing started several hours earlier, when I realized with a start that it was December 22 and I hadn’t even begun to prepare for Christmas.

This was not normal for me. I love Christmas, and I usually start my preparations early. But this year Christmas had sort of been pushed aside by a family wedding. And I suddenly realized I had only forty-eight hours to make Christmas happen—shopping, wrapping, cooking, everything. I was feeling like a failure before I even started.

That’s when Mackenzie called. “Mom, I’ve got to go to Target this morning. Do you have time to go with me?”

Yes! I thought. Perfect timing. I could take care of my to-do list and have some much-needed time with my firstborn. My efficient, get-it-done mode kicked in as I grabbed a large coffee, picked up my shopping list, and headed for Target with Mackenzie.

Would you believe I got all the shopping done in less than an hour? (That’s one upside of a limited budget.) I stuffed all my packages in the car, and we started for home, my mind already racing ahead to what I needed to do next.

But then, as we drove, I fell into a conversation with Mackenzie.

Car on snowy road

She shared with me some ideas she’d been writing about in her blog—thoughts about her experience of being an adult child from a divorced family, about taking responsibility for her life, and about the meaning of Christmas. Her insights were profound, thoughtful, seasoned with both pain and maturity. And by the time we pulled up in my driveway, time had stilled. All my concerns about shopping and cooking and making Christmas happen had faded.

“Mom,” Mackenzie said to me there in the car, “Christ came when we didn’t acknowledge Him, when we weren’t grateful, when we were blind to our need and determined to have our own way. He came when we didn’t think we needed Him. And Mom, I am learning that He still comes, no matter what. He comes to free us from the failure of our lives, from the broken promises that seem to define us. He says, ‘I saw you in your need. And I still see you. I am restoring all you thought was lost, all you have grieved and left behind. For with Me, all things are new.’”

I am fully convinced I experienced a miracle that morning through the life of my young adult daughter. With her words, with who she is, Mackenzie unwrapped my Christmas gift from the God who sees me. She helped me shift my perspective from anxiety over what needed to happen to peace over what God has done in all our lives.

“Well, we can take the tree down now, because Christmas has already happened,” I told Jerry when I walked into the house that day. Jerry smiled when I explained what had happened in the car. “Christmas is more than what hangs on that tree,” he said. “He hung on the tree. He is the gift.”

Cross


Jesus gave and still gives us the miracle of a perspective change. Right in the middle of the messiness of life, He still comes. He still reveals Himself to our longing eyes.

Adapted from The God Who Sees You, by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan) David C. Cook publishers.

 

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 Several years ago I conducted a television interview with a man who was struggling with cancer. I asked him a fairly typical Christian interview question: “Are you trusting God for a miracle?” And I have never forgotten his reply: “Tammy I’ve learned that sometimes the greatest miracle is just a perspective change.”

Eye-o-mundo

That man said a lot of insightful things that day, but it was that one phrase that kept echoing in my mind. It’s still echoing, in fact, because it has proven true so often in my life. I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of changing the way I see. And I’ve come to believe that often in our lives, we won’t be able to perceive the God who sees us until we’re willing to see things differently.

I believe it’s perfectly possible to spend an entire lifetime looking at ordinary things and events—family, friends, fear, and disappointments—and never have the smallest hint that God is there or that He is active in our lives.

Love God

It’s easy. Happens all the time.

It’s possible to look back on a life—all the things that have happened up till now—and not see any kind of pattern. It’s also possible to look into the future and see more of the same. It’s even possible to have an occasional glimpse into another dimension, a one-time spiritual awakening, then lapse back into the ordinary and never really be changed.

But here’s the alternative: We can choose to spend life in the same circumstances, the same places, among all the same people, and continually be struck by the wonderful truth that God is there, that He’s in control, that He loves us and is aware of us and wants us to be part of what He’s doing in the world.

There’s a kind a miracle, in other words, that we can choose. We can choose the miracle of a perspective change.

Does that mean that seeing God is just a matter of personal choice?

Not exactly.

It’s always a little difficult to sort out what we can choose and what we can’t choose in this life. Theologians have been trying to sort it out for centuries, juggling concepts of God’s sovereignty and human free will, delving into the mysteries of what is up to us and what is up to God.

It’s a mystery, a paradox—that God is in control of the entire universe, yet He gives us freedom of will. And that paradox is fully in play when it comes to seeing God.

Because ultimately, it is God’s choice to reveal Himself to us.

But we must choose to see what God reveals. We must have what the Bible calls eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to perceive what the God who sees us is doing in our lives.

 

Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

The God Who Sees You 3D

 

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