Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Why God is both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

    Formless to formed…Emptiness to fullness…Darkness to light…Water to sky and evening to morning…Dry ground and waters gathered into seas…  These are the precursors on earth to the creation of life: First sea life, then plant life, then animal life, then human life. Genesis 1:27- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.  In many places, God’s word refers to the human race as “man.”  Here it specifies that “man” means both genders and it continues to include both throughout scripture.
God is a God of life…of birth and of rebirth and renewal.  He has the power to breathe the very breath of life into our physical or spiritual being.  Genesis 2:7-The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  God is consistent across every aspect of His being and He is the giver, supporter and promoter of life.  He values every single life (regardless of race, nation, gender, disability) from the aging to the middle aged, to the youth, to babies and the unborn babies in the womb.  Psalm 139: 15&16-When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  There is no question that God is pro-life and that when He instructs us not to kill, He includes those babies in the womb whom he already “knows.”
In contrast is the thief who is Satan: John 10:10-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  The very existence of death is a result of evil in the world and the being that promotes it.
God is also a God of choice!  When man was first created, God showed them all the trees of the garden, allowing them to eat from any tree except for one.  We talk of the forbidden tree (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) more often than we hear of the tree of life.  What is this tree of life? It was central in the garden next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It seems to represent and give life…without death.  It shows that when he gave them full access to this tree and its fruit, God’s plan and intent for Adam and Eve was only life.  And only one tree in the entire garden was off limits (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).  God wanted to leave them with a choice.  Sometimes I wish he hadn’t(!), but God is love and He didn’t want them to follow His ways without a choice. He didn’t want them to follow His ways because they were the only ones to follow.  He wanted, and still wants, man to choose Him, choose His life, and His goodness, giving us an opportunity to obey.
Three years ago my dad died.  His life ended when he took his own life.  I was a complete dysfunctional disaster for about 6 months after this happened but had wonderful support from people all around me.  I was in a very hard place during that time. I honestly feel like God allowed me to get to a similar place as my dad was in order that I might have some understanding.  I had never really experienced depression before.  Other people’s verbal responses varied in a large spectrum in trying to make sense of such an event.  Some people said, “Well, maybe he didn’t have a choice” or “Perhaps that’s just what he had to do.”  I told my kids, and will continue to emphasize with them, that he did indeed have a choice.  “You always have a choice,” I say.  If you are ever in that place, there is always another option, always someone to talk to, always an avenue of hope, and always some form of help.  This is not a simplistic or easy answer topic. I know the lies of depression are strong… I heard some of them myself.
The really awesome thing is that even after Adam and Eve’s sin of eating of the ONE tree that was to be avoided, God still endlessly gave them the opportunity to choose to have connection with Him.  Though their choice of fruit (to disobey God’s command) had consequences, they were able to decide again to follow God.  We choose these things on a daily basis often starting anew when we fail.  We can choose kindness over grumpiness, giving over selfishness, trust over fear, faith over control, love over hate, intimacy over lust, justice over injustice, forgiveness over revenge, responsibility over laziness, obedience over our own self-will, resisting temptation over giving in, and birth over abortion. Yes, we even have the power to choose our own life over physical death! 
Whether or not the government makes assisted suicide and abortion legal, available, free or even if it wrongly forces it upon its citizens, God gives us (as humanity) choices. Whether our society approves or disapproves doesn’t change God’s position on life.  And He still gives us a choice.  Based on only one single choice of choosing to trust Him, He invites us to live in His presence eternally.  Amazingly, when he bookends his word, we find that the tree of Life is not gone. The tree of Life is mentioned again. Revelation 2:7-He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. 
AND Revelation 22:2-…On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations….
What great gifts we have been given:  Not only life, an ability to choose and discern, but forgiveness and healing and opportunities for renewal if we don’t always choose what is right.


J.Kondratieff

photo credit: Aleksander Markin. Александр Маркин <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/33104187@N04/31261048732">Man was born! Grandson!</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chalk paint recipe and before and after



I loved the final product of this chest.  It was an item that was always in our house growing up so when my mom gave it to me, I wanted to give it some new life. I love how chalk paint is a different texture than paint so it seems softer and the brush strokes don't show. See the recipe below.  On furniture it can be sanded on the edges to distress or just leave the full coverage.  It is good to cover it when it dries with a layer of wax and buff the surface. If you want to paint several items, you can save alot of pennies by making your own chalk paint.


Chalk Paint:
1 part plaster of Paris with water to mix
3 parts paint

The paint must be flat paint.  Other paints clump up and if they have a sheen in them it doesn't look like chalk paint anyway. I used plaster of Paris from Ace hardware (in a milk carton shaped box). Mix with water till it is smooth before adding the paint.  I used a whisk to combine.  You want to make sure there are no lumps.  I also used Olympic interior flat white paint from Lowes. It's best to only make as much as you are going to use to paint an item because it starts to clump up and change consistency.  I did save some overnight in a jar and it worked just fine. You may want to sand edges and then buff with a light coat of wax. On this item I didn't sand at all and just waxed it (Briwax from Ace) when dry. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lemon Curd Recipe

So good!  We love this on toast in the summer time!

What You Need

Ingredients
3 or 4 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
1. Peel and juice the lemons. Zest 3 of the lemons using a zestor or fine grator, taking as little of the bitter white pith as possible. Cut all the lemons in half, juice them, and measure out 1/2 cup of juice. Save any leftover juice for another use. Combine the sugar and lemon peels. Add the butter, egg yolks, lemon juice and salt to the bowl. Incorporate all the ingredients into a bowl by hand. (You can also use a stand mixer.)
2. Cook the lemon mixture. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and place over very low heat. Stir frequently, using a heat-proof spatula. Do not leave the mixture unattended as it is very easy for it to overcook and curdle.
Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, 12-15 minutes. If you are using a thermometer, cook the curd to 170˚F. You can also test the curd by coating the back of a spoon with the curd and running a finger through it. It should leave a clear, distinct path. You can strain out the lemon peel/zest but I like to leave it all in so I don't strain it at all.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature, then pour into a clean jar and store in your refrigerator. It will keep for a few weeks, if it lasts that long!

Notes:

 • Lemon curd can also be stored in the freezer for several months.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Best summer dessert...Fruit Pizza!!

This dessert seems to scream summer and is a fast and easy one for a party or potluck.  Make it round or square and bring it anywhere....just don't expect for any leftovers.

Fruit Pizza:
Sugar cookie crust recipe (see earlier post on Best sugar cookies)
Whipping Cream
Cream cheese
sugar
Fruit (sliced)

After making the sugar cookie dough, spread it out evenly on a cookie sheet with your fingers. 
Bake it for 10-15 minutes at 350.  
Let it cool.
This is not a precise recipe!!!  Whip about a cup of whipping cream and mix in some cream cheese...(half to a full pkg.) that is at room temperature with the electric mixer or kitchen Aid.  Add sugar to taste (approximately a quarter cup). Spread on the cooled cookie crust. Top with fruit of many colors!  The only fruit I don't usually add is apple because it is too crunchy and not too colorful. Bananas do well if you will be serving it right away.



Latest weekend projects...Pantry and Bathroom vanity

Before and afters around our house....I love before and after pictures!  They inspire me to get my own projects done one at at a time.  Here are a few of my latest weekend projects and since pictures inspire me maybe they can be an inspiration to start on something for you.  I actually tend to put these things off and then it feels so good when they are actually done.

The Pantry before and after:
This is what all four of the shelves looked like but I wanted to get a close up on their messiness here!  
Here is what all four shelves look like now.  Yay, I breath a sigh of relief when I walk through the pantry now and I have to walk through because the door to my garage is in this room.  I was feeling myself cringe when passing by....a sure time a change is needed!  Baskets seem to be super expensive even when on sale, but sometimes the cost is worth it!! Total cost-$66 for the baskets and $6 for the curtain and spring rod.

Last weekend I finished painting our bathroom cupboards.  I have to say, I wish that I would have used chalk paint, but I already had some white paint, so I used it instead.  Chalk paint with a sealer or wax just looks so finished and makes it hard to see brush strokes.  My recommendation after doing this would be to use at least 2 or 3 coats of primer (instead of the 1 that I used) when painting cupboards so that you only have to put on one coat of paint at the end (minimizing the visual brush strokes).  However, I love my cupboards white so much more than before's natural oak....that I am leaving them alone now.

Before....the floor boads aren't finished here either...still in progress!:
After:  Feels brighter in the whole room:



Total cost: $23 for the hardware...(but I already had the paint.)  Still, painting is one of the most economical ways to improve a room! 





Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Idea: Peppermint Bath Salts


Whether you want to make this for somebody else or for yourself, an excuse to take a bath is a good thing to have around!!  Happy Mother's Day.

Peppermint bath salts*** Here's what you need:
1cup of Epsom salt
1 cup of sea salt or rock salt
6 T. Almond or jojoba oil
20 drops of peppermint essential oil 
(I actually used peppermint extract)
Red or pink food coloring.

The bottle is from the Dollar Tree and so are the chalkboard stickers.
Mix well in a large bowl and then transfer to a bottle or jar.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Best Sugar Cookies...for any holiday



Yes, we make these sugar cookies for every holiday...though not for all holidays each year, or we would be making them all the time!  For example, I haven't made them for St. Patrick's Day for several years now.  We sometimes make them for Valentine's Day, sometimes for Easter, but ALWAYS for Christmas!  I have had this recipe since growing up at home and the thing that makes it special is the almond extract.  Sugar cookies without that are just not the same!

1 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
1T. almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2-3 Cups all purpose flour
shamrock shaped cookie cutter
buttercream frosting with green food coloring and 1 t. almond extract

Cream the butter and sugar and then add the rest.  Stir until well combined and knead together with your hand to form a ball that you can roll out. Roll out to about 1/4" thick and cut out the cookie shamrocks. Place the shapes on cookie sheets. You can put some green sugar on them before baking OR just bake them plain so that they can be frosted later. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool completely and then frost.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day...yes...my maiden name was Murphy!



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