There's Mail From Mom!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a letter from mom in the mailbox each time you checked it? Here's a place to check your mailbox for a heart-to-heart talk with mom...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Recipe time!

I guess I should have some kind of method as far as which day I talk about which thing, and I'm working on that....blogging and I are relatively new.

Today I made Oatmeal Sandwich cookies. They are one of our favorites in this household. I would guess Chocolate Chip and Monster Cookies run a tie with them depending on who you ask!...
...Or maybe Oatmeal Raisin.. or if you asked my husband it would be a tie with the Monster Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies. Oh well, I guess you could say that this bunch loves home baked cookies.

Back to today's cookies-I first discovered them in a cookbook at my daughter Alicia's house and made them for her children when I was staying with them when Audrey was born. They were a hit! We all said, "Little Debbie, eat your heart out!" (and I love Little Debbie oatmeal cakes!)

These take a lot of shortening so go buy you a new can! The filling is wonderful and the cookies are chewy on the inside and a little crunch on the edges...can you smell the cinnamon? Be sure and follow the rule of baking cookies--slightly underbake your cookies.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cup shortening

2 2/3 cups packed brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (I've used regular oats and they're not quite as good.)


3/4 cup shortening

3 cups powdered sugar

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmellow creme

1-3 Tbsp. milk

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats. Drop by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10- 12 minutes. (I bake mine 8 minutes.)

For filling, in a mixing bowl, cream shortening, sugar and marshmallow creme. Add enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread filliing on the bottom half of the cookie; and top with remaining cookie.

Give these a try! They make a large batch and your kids will love them. Give your children an adulthood memories of mom making warm, wonderful baked goods for them. They're worth it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lessons from my pastor husband...

When I was a girl I remember laying in bed and listening to my pastor dad counseling people with the word of God. He had no idea that someone else was getting counseling at the same time. I would watch these people leave our home and either follow the counsel or ignore it. Most of them didn't listen and I watched as their lives fell apart. I remember making decisions based on what I heard and saw.
Now I'm 53 years old and I'm still listening to the man of God counsel people. My husband seems to have a lot of people call him for their counsel. This week I overheard him talking to someone about "dying to self" and living in obedience to God.
Now I've heard that message again and again but this time as I heard him it came home. He kept repeating that we cannot back God in a corner and agree to do what He wants if He'll do what we want. It doesn't work that way. We do what God wants because He's God and that's the only way that will make life work for us.
People will agree that their life is a wreck, they'll agree they need help, they'll agree that they are at the end of themselves--but my husband made the comment that until we want God worse than we want anything else in the world we won't see that there is no bargaining with God or making deals with Him.
He said it's called "dying to self" or the "crucified life". I stood at the sink later realizing that I still have areas where I need to delete the words "I want" from my life. It doesn't matter what I want. It matters what God wants and it matters what the authority he's put in my life (my husband) wants.
I remembered years ago when a lady came to us constantly wanting help because her husband had left her for another woman. She had been fasting for days and days and she had given up her improper clothing, wrong music, and other "questionable" things she'd allowed in her life. I was impressed and couldn't understand why my husband was what I thought-- "very hard on her".
In the counseling we had both realized that she had been a very strong-willed woman and both she and her husband had been very carnal Christians. Authority had not been a pleasant thing for her but it appeared to me that she was finally ready to surrender to it.
One day I finally asked my husband why he was so unimpressed after she was making so many changes in her life. He told me that her attitude was one of holding God's arm behind his back and making deals with Him. She felt God "owed her" a restored marriage because she was finally doing what she'd known all along He wanted. He also told me that when God didn't give her what she wanted (and God was under no obligation to her to do it) that everything would go back to where it was and she'd be angry at God for not giving her what she'd "paid" Him for.
Sure enough, when the husband married someone else that woman became a major problem in the church. All her new standards disappeared and her bitterness and anger was spread everywhere!
Now I knew my husband was right but it was like it finally fell into place for me this week. How I pray that when I obey the Lord it is because of just that--He is Lord. I pray that when I start to tell the Lord what I want I'll be prompted to stop and add to that--"once I am certain that this is what You want, Lord."
Thank You Lord that I'm still receiving counsel from You and thank You for a man of God who faithfully delivers Your word to those who talk to him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Five Minutes...

On Tuesday morning I usually wake up feeling a little overwhelmed. We take Monday as a family day and since we've just got through a very busy weekend I am facing laundry, getting the school week going, making food for myself for the week and the list goes on and on.
Years ago I discovered that those little 5 minute time periods when you aren't sure what to do next can get a lot done. I've timed myself--I can empty a very full dishwasher in about 3 1/2 minutes. It's amazing how many dishes you can get washed in 5 minutes. You can fold a load of laundry in less than 5 minutes. I can stir up biscuits or a batch of cookies in 5 minutes. I can have an apple crisp baking within 5 minutes (I've canned the pie filling!) and have Marble Toll House squares baking for unexpected company in 5 minutes. (And they only bake for 10-12 minutes!)
I can completely pick up a room in 5 minutes and I can bleach the toilet, clean the mirrors and vanity top and spray the shower in 5 minutes. I could go on and on with the things that I have times myself on that can be done in 5 minutes.
Since using my 5 minutes plan for years and years I discovered Flylady. I found her shortly after I was beginning to come out of my depression years and asking the Lord to help me remove any "weights" in my life that were holding me down.
I consider myself very organized (maybe structured is a better word) and so I really didn't think it would change things that much but I love her 15 minutes plan which is similar to mine but aimed at the bigger projects in life.
If you've never been to Flylady's website and you stay frustrated with your organization skills then you need to go there and do some serious reading. She's amazing at helping you see your way out of being overwhelmed with all your duties.
This week I have several 15 minutes projects going. I have spent 15 minutes in my bathroom (the bathroom and the laundry room are this weeks zones to work in) and cleaned out old medicines and beauty products from the bathroom closet. I also am taking one mini-blind per day and cleaning them in the bathtub. It's a good feeling to see spring cleaning get done by just a small chunk of time per day!
I have my notebook (she calls it a control journal) on the end of the breakfast bar from Monday through Saturday. You slide it into a sheet protector and I write my daily duties on there (over and above what I've printed already) and check off my work as I go. Now I live by lists so this is right down my alley. It gives me a good feeling to see the list being marked off.
Today's list was: make yogurt, make Brasco Broth, feed the sourdough starter, make school schedules and do two loads of laundry. That was over and above the pre-printed : *Read Bible *Pray *Empty dishwasher, *Load Dishwasher *What's for Supper? *Laundry for today *Drink 8 glasses of water *Walk 15 minutes *Cook supper *Write or sew for one hour and*Zone work and it's all done!
I decide what's for supper right after breakfast and write it on my daily chore list where I've left a blank after *What's For Supper? _____________ This has really helped me with thinking that I didn't thaw the meat at about 3:00 pm. :)
In closing, I'm going to give you my recipe for Toll House Marble Squares. This was one of my Grandma Mettler's favorite recipes. Now I know why--it's quick and it's wonderful!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup oleo
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat in:
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Spread in greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 bag of semisweet chocolate chips.
Place in oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven and run knife through batter to marbelize the batter. Return to oven and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and cut in squares.
This batter will fill a large cookie sheet. In my oven they bake between 10-12 minutes.
Give it a try, you'll love them!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


This morning my mind was on mothering. I guess it was because I've been hearing commercials and getting e-mails about Mother's Day. Of course, I thought of my own sweet mother and the memories of my childhood that are precious.
One distinct memory I have in my first five years is the smell of her face. She used Cover Girl makeup and I can remember thinking how soft she was and how sweet she smelled.
Kindergarten was very frightening to me. I remember coming home from school and curling up in my mother's arms in a rocker and making sure I was close to that sweet smell of "my" mother. A little phonograph sat on a stool next to the rocker and she would play a record as she rocked me.
I remember sitting in a big walk-in pantry off of the kitchen and playing by the hour with a cardboard family my mother made me out of poster board. The dad wore a business suit and went to work each day. I had a house (upstairs and downstairs!) where the mom and dad slid into their bed (neat slots) the baby had a nursery and my cardboard oven and refrigerator actually opened! My mom drew the mother in different positions. She might be at the stove, sitting on the couch, dressed in her lovely nightgown and robe ready for bed or pushing her shopping cart. I had a little grocery too, with a chubby butcher who actually had little meats to take in and out of his meat case!
It took time for my mother to make that for me, but she created more in my heart than just a cardboard family. She created a love for her, her values, family with a mother at home and a dad at work. Her afternoon of drawing something for me had big dividends in her life.
Another memory is that of always knowing that my mother was there. If I was playing outside she was just a call away. Sometimes I would run in just to be comforted by seeing her in the kitchen. As a newly married bride I remember walking down to chat with her one day and she wasn't there! I remember wondering what was wrong, or who had got sick! I also remember the little prick of irritation--mom was supposed to be there where she belonged.
When my husband was pastoring in another part of Tennessee we would get newsletters from a Christian legal group educating you on problems that could affect the church. One newsletter was on teenage suicide. This was back in the 80's or early 90's. I remember that it said that over 60% of teens suicide notes faulted the mother for "not being there when I needed you".
Scripture makes it clear that a child left to himself will bring shame to his mother. (Proverbs 29:15) That word "left" means to send away, to dismiss, to let loose, to give over. Who have we given our children over to so that we can do what we want with our time. The government, a daycare facility, the television, a computer, even our church and its activities or grandma?
Scripture also clearly defines where our lives are to be spent as wives and mothers. (Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 for starters!) It would do us all good to ask how much time we are spending outside of our God-given domain. This time includes the computer and the tv and the telephone--not just the mother that walks out the door to punch a time clock each day. It also includes being a busy beaver in ministry work outside of the doors of your home. Make your home the core of your ministry. There is plenty to do from within its walls that will minister to others. Even one trip a day out of the home can destroy proper priorities in a woman's life.
Remember Superwoman is a figment of someone's very active imagination. Something is going to use up your time and how anyone can find time to do more than her domestic duties that God has given her in His word is beyond me. Something is going to go undone, and it's usually the ones that should be at the top of our list!
Beside the fact that it damages our children (when we find other things more important to us than they are) women are missing so much that cannot be reclaimed and is so wonderfully valuable.
Go buy a little piece of clothesline and string it up at your daughter's height. Buy some little clothespins at the craft store. Pick a warm, sunny day and get her two dishpans and fill one with sudsy water and one with warm rinse water. Help her wash her dolly's clothes and hang them up. You can be the neighbor lady or the grandma of the baby. After they're dry let her help iron them and put them away.
I can promise you that this will be one of those "Mom, do you remember when?" moments in your life.
Take your little boy and go outside and help him make a town in the dirt. Little streets for his trucks and a little field for his tractors. Name his little town with him. Get down on the ground and play with him! He won't forget the day you did that when he is grown.
Women are so busy today chasing valueless things and it breaks my heart. Each generation is showing the loss of their spiritual moorings and I firmly believe that the mama that wore an apron, cooked hot homemade meals for her family, found pride in the white shirt she had neatly pressed for her husband and loved sitting in the evenings reading to her family is why the word of God is being "blasphemed" now instead of revered. (Titus 2:5b)
Let's each one have a "heart to heart" with the Lord and decide that we're going to keep our chicks under our wings. It doesn't take money it takes being there. If this message was taken to heart by the saved women that each one of us know it would revolutionize and revive America. You can't do it for anyone else, but you and I can decide that we individually are going to do it.
It is my prayer that each of my "daughters" and "sisters" that read this will "stand perfect and complete in all his will" (Colossians 4:12) in this area of your life. Let's hold each other up and "pray and obey" together. The dividends are eternal!