Yikes

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Can I just say, although I really enjoy the Olympics, I am appalled at the dress that is ordained for some of the sports. Beach volleyball comes directly to mind. The men get to wear long shorts and tank tops; the women, however, must don barely-there, bikini-style skimps. Like gymnastics – the men get to cover more than the poor women. The divers, male and female, sport scanty, tight suits. How is there not a chorus of protests? I did hear that one country refused to wear the official garb, and were thus fined $15,000.

Even what are generally considered modest countries wear these uniforms: China, Japan, Indonesia, Iran, etc.

I am pleased that the swimmers’ suits have evolved to cover more; although that is due to streamlining and faster times.

Sheesh!

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  • images from google images

Recipe Friday: Meatballs and Broth Gravy

We needed a bit of comfort food the other day, so I came up with this. I adapted from a recipe that called for canned cream of mushroom soup, and breadcrumbs. With my husband coming down with a sore throat, I wanted something that didn’t contain any junk, only ingredients that would be healthful. (I also plied him with echinacea and elderberry syrup.)

We like to have this over mashed potatoes, but noodles or something else would serve as well.

Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Make lots of it, and use it for soup bases, gravies, anything you can think of.

For more immune-boosting, I added extra cayenne, cumin, and onion (we like onion).

All the ingredients in this recipe are real food. Eat real food, folks, and give up the convenience in preference to health.

Yield: 2-quart casserole
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 25 min + 45 min to 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

1 pound                     ground beef, venison, or other meat

1                                  small onion, diced

1/2 cup                       quick (not instant) oatmeal

1                                  egg

                                    sprinklings to taste of spices: paprika, basil, celery seed, cayenne,

                                             cumin

                                    salt to taste

1 tablespoon             Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon             tamari sauce

1/2 teaspoon             liquid smoke

1/4 cup                       barbecue sauce

For the Gravy:

2 cups                        bone broth

2 tablespoons           cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water

     Serving suggestion:

     hot mashed potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to broil at 400°
Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
Shape into 1-inch meatballs and place on a rimmed baking sheet. This recipe makes 20 – 24 meatballs, depending on size.
Place baking sheet on lower rack of oven and broil for 15 minutes.
Move meatballs to upper oven rack and broil for 5 – 10 more minutes.

In a saucepan, heat the bone broth to simmering.
Turn off broiler; turn on oven to 350°.
Remove meatballs from baking sheet to a 2-quart casserole dish.

Pour a bit of the hot broth onto the baking sheet, and scrape up the drippings.
Stir the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan with the hot broth, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the drippings from the baking sheet into the saucepan, and stir.
Pour the gravy over the meatballs.
Cover the dish and bake at 350° 45 minutes – 1 hr.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

I Had Rather Be a Doorkeeper

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Psalms 84 is a joy to read, as are other psalms. This one speaks of God’s amiable tabernacles. To me, the psalm rings out with the joy of praising God, of fellowshipping with other believers, and of resting in the peace that can only come from God Almighty.

In the New Testament, Christians are the tabernacles of God.

1 Corinthians 3.16, 17 Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

2 Peter 1.13 – 15 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Verse 10 of Psalms 84 jumps out at me: For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

We are, in fact, doorkeepers. I often got the impression that a doorkeeper was a rather lowly position, with the writer setting it in such terms. Of course, I had rather be anything at all than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

But doorkeepers are not lowly at all! We have a critical position: doorkeepers are guards and must therefore always be alert for any dangers, any threats to the tabernacle. And if there are dangers, the doorkeeper must use every available weapon and strength to defend the tabernacle, even unto death.

As doorkeepers of God’s tabernacle (or temple), we have a grave responsibility to protect and defend the Holy Spirit within us. We have the Light of God Himself within us, and we are to keep that light polished and shining. We are not to allow darkness or evil or any unclean thing to defile this tabernacle. In addition, we are to remain in training for a strong defense: we must read the Word of God daily so that we may stand firm, with our loins girded with truth, and having the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6.14).

Rejoice in your position as doorkeeper to God’s tabernacle: He has anointed you with a divine blessing.

Psalms 84:

{To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.} How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

* Image of Brocken spectre from Bing images

Recipe Friday: Kathy’s Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I fiddled with a cookie recipe I found, and came up with one I really like. I mean, like a lot. I can call it “healthy” because it doesn’t have wheat in it, or processed sugar. (Of course, you can substitute regular flour and brown sugar if you like.) And it’s got OATS! What’s healthier than oatmeal? (Be sure to get your oats from an organic, reliable source.)

This is a smaller recipe, making only 20 or so cookies (depending on how big or small you like them), but it can be doubled or tripled according to need.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup             butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup                coconut palm sugar

1                        large egg

1/2 teaspoon   vanilla

1/2 teaspoon   baking soda

1/2 teaspoon   baking powder

1/2 teaspoon   salt

1 cup                barley flour

1 cup                (heaping) quick oats

1 cup                (heaping) chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (butterscotch chips are delicious, too)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy and well-combined, 1-2 minutes.

Add baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix well. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips. This can get a bit messy, so maybe cover your bowl as you mix because the flour poofs up everywhere. The batter will be stiff. Mix until no dry streaks remain (don’t go crazy; just mix until evenly combined).

Scoop the cookies into balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and place a couple inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

Where Jesus Walked

I wonder stuff; do you? For instance, I got to thinking about Jesus walking around on Earth.

When Jesus was here, He was God. “In the beginning,” He was “the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1.1) So He knew every inch of that earth, and who else had walked right there; He knew what everyone had done in any given location.

Did He lift His eyes to look upon the burial ground of Moses? Did He feel the great victories of David beat in His breast as He walked over the battlegrounds? Did the words of Jeremiah ring in His ears as He walked the streets of Bethlehem, feeling the terrified cries of mothers as the prophesy was fulfilled and babies were killed? Did He ponder the histories and peoples of Judah, Israel, and Samaria as He traveled region to region?

Was His body physically overwhelmed as He walked Jerusalem, contemplating Abraham bringing his son, Isaac, to sacrifice; as David brought the ark back; as the temple was built, and later destroyed and pillaged?

What other stories and people did He know from Bethany, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus?

What other people did He ponder, how many millions did He consider who are never mentioned in the Bible, and who we will never know until we live in eternity?

Recipe Friday: Mongolian Beef Slow Cooker

recipecritic.com

I grabbed a photo from the Internet for this one, since mine, while tasty, did not shoot well. (Maybe it was the lighting, but it looked dirty brown and unappetizing.)

My husband’s favorite dish, when we visit a Chinese restaurant, is Mongolian Beef. I had never made it at home, but I found an Internet recipe, and, with a few changes, whipped it up. So easy! We used round steak, normally tough, but this was very tender.

Traditional Mongolian Beef calls for soy sauce. I recommend against “soy sauce.” Read your labels, and you’ll see that most soy sauces on the grocery shelves are mostly wheat. Tamari is soy sauce, actually made from soy. I buy the low-sodium style.

For the healthy sweetener, I use palm coconut sugar, but you can try others such as honey, date syrup, molasses, or even brown rice syrup. If you don’t have those, use brown sugar.

And, okay, I probably used a tablespoon or so of the garlic, since we like garlic at our house.

Bamboo shoots would go well in this, as well as the soft pea pods and other common Chinese-style veggies. Like the broccoli, add them at the end so they don’t get mushy.

Mongolian Beef in the Slow Cooker

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3 – 5 hours

Serves: 3 – 5, depending on serving size and how much rice you’re serving with it

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (or so) of beef (I used round steak)

1/4 cup                cornstarch

2 tablespoons     olive oil

1 medium            onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon      garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup                tamari sauce, low-sodium

3/4 cup                brewed coffee

1/2 cup                healthy sweetener

1 cup                    carrots, grated

4 cups                  fresh or frozen broccoli florets (if frozen, be sure it is completely thawed)

                              green onions for garnish

                              hot brown rice to go with

Directions:

Cut beef into thin strips. In a zip-close bag add beef pieces and cornstarch. Shake to coat.
Add olive oil, onion, minced garlic, tamari, coffee, sweetener and carrots to slow cooker. Stir ingredients. Add coated beef and stir again until coated in the sauce.
Cook on high 1 hour, then on low for 4- 5 hours (or cook on high for 3 hours) until cooked throughout and tender.
In the last hour or half hour of cooking, stir in the broccoli.

Can serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Short-Sighted

We took a trip last month for our family reunion, stopping in to see other family, as well. We opt for driving over flying, even when the distances are long. We drove over 2400 miles for this trip. It was all worth it, many times over, of course.

When we drive, my husband takes the wheel for the bulk of the trip. I drive for a couple-few hours once in a while, but he is a road warrior, and enjoys driving. I am the navigator.

The navigator, you may ask? Yes, indeed. When we go on a road trip, we use paper maps. We have a good navigation system in our car, and we bring our phones with us, which are the portals to anywhere one may desire to venture.

But, as we drove from here to there, and then from there to here, I appreciated our paper maps more and more. Granted, there is much folding and re-folding involved, but those maps give us a big picture.

Before we left for the trip, my husband got out all the state and regional maps. He figured miles, which cities we would or would not drive through, how long each leg would take, and the best routes taking into consideration all our needs. We made the decisions. We were able to look at many different options, we could see other locations around where we were driving, and we could prepare for our trip using a wide range of information.

Navigation apps show the short-range. Turn here. In one-half mile, turn left. In two miles, take the exit. The small print at the top shows that we’re to travel 58 miles before the next turn-off.

It occurred to me, while on the road and using our maps, that navigation apps are a pattern of a larger issue in our society. Navigation apps are very short-sighted. The computer makes all the decisions for us, and tells us where to go. We tell it our destination, and we assume that’s where we’re going as we follow its route; but we don’t get to see our other options, we don’t get a peek at the big picture. We can see only a few miles around us at a time.

Are we turning into a short-sighted culture? We want information, and we want it now. We make snap decisions based on what our feed tells us. While short-range information and decisions have their place, how often do we step back to take a look at the big picture? When our community / state / nation makes thus-and-such decision or votes for a particular issue, do we think of the long-range effects?

Examples:

  • Wind turbines (or wind farms) are portrayed as good for the environment. We thought so, too, until we looked at the costs and energy needed to produce each turbine, the cost of using wind energy vs the cost of other types of energy, the government subsidies and the money going into promoting wind energy, the fact that the huge blades last ten years and then go into a landfill (non-recyclable materials), the cost of producing and transporting the turbines, and the minimal benefits we reap from them.
  • Defunding the police: yes, there are serious problems within our penal system. Serious problems come anywhere people are involved. Some communities are looking at long-range solutions and implications, such as diverting funds for other programs that improve the community as a whole.
  • Our addiction to sugar and fast / convenient food: We pay extra money for the easy route; but we pay in other ways, too, such as deteriorating health. Fake foods don’t have the nutrients we need, so we are increasingly hungry. We keep eating non-nutrients, and our bodies cannot be satisfied.
  • Pharmaceutical companies make lots of money from selling their “medications.” As we get sicker and sicker (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, allergies, auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer’s ADD/ADHD, autism, and suicide numbers are at their highest-ever), we look for someone to fix it for us, rather than thinking about the long-range implications of our lifestyles. Focusing only on healthy, nutritious food and exercise, to the exclusion of junk foods and couch-potato-ing, “miraculously” heals a multitude of physical and mental ailments.
  • Government is happy to take over the education of our children, and many are happy to give it. In the long-range picture, we are training future generations to let someone else do the thinking, and to go along with whatever “they” say.
  • Government pays us when we don’t work / don’t farm. Some like the situation, but it is leading to a nation of non-workers, and worker shortages. [We know a young man in his twenties who turned down a $40,000+/year job because he could make more money by staying at home – in his parents’ house.]
  • Disposable items are right-now convenient: diapers, swiffers, plastic bags, water bottles, food storage, single-use items. But if you can see the future, you can envision that we are destroying our planet little by little.
  • Finances: use money with long-range goals in mind, not short-sighted gratification.
  • Education: whether for yourself or loved ones, look at the big picture.
  • Family values and decisions: How do you want your children to look when they grow up? Where should they be spiritually when they fly your nest? Parent with this far-reaching vision in your decisions and discipline.
  • 5G technology is celebrated and promoted as the latest and greatest, despite research evidencing the detriments to our health.
  • Our dependence on electricity and technology is growing. Are we still using and learning the “old-fashioned” way to do things, in the event that a power grid is hacked or destroyed?

You are a steward of God’s resources. Use His gifts wisely. 1 Corinthians 4.2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

If you are a long-range thinker, I applaud you and I thank you. Those who take responsibility for their own actions, who carefully consider the future outcomes of present decisions, and who make decisions based on a wide range of options are the people who will ultimately run the world. The short-sighted folks will just follow along. Since they are short-sighted, they don’t know where they’re going and don’t know where they’ll end up. Many don’t care, as long as someone is taking care of them.

Please also consider the long-range picture of eternity. If you are living for the here-and-now, you must lift your eyes and take a good, long look at where you will spend eternity; because eternity is coming, it is a reality. God is Creator of Heaven and Earth. He created time and eternity. He wants to spend eternity with you. He gives us all the information we need to understand that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14.6).

Recipe Friday: Fambly

My dad likes to make up words. His pet word for our family is, “fambly.” We’ve all pretty much adopted it.

We had a family reunion last month. We do this every two years, for a full week, and we siblings take turns arranging the venue. We each pick a night to cook, so it’s only the one day that we need to be responsible for the meal.

My brother-in-law started this for us in 1997, and we’ve continued it. Nowadays, my generation is retired, or close-to retired. But our children are career-age and can’t always make it. My parents aren’t able to attend any more, but it pleases them to no end that we still hold it. This year’s reunion missed several of us, but those of us there really enjoyed each other.

God instituted family, and for good reason. We are to take family seriously, and work hard to make those bonds as close and good as we can. No, it’s not all in our hands to do so, but we are accountable to God, as far as it is possible, to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12.18).

Sometimes we can’t change our family dynamics. For instance, I get to have a sisters weekend every other year. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner one night, and got into conversation with the waitress. She couldn’t believe we wanted to spend time with our sisters. “If I did that with my sisters,” she said, “we’d end up killing each other.” But she thought it was so sweet that we liked spending time together.

I love my fambly. Fiercely. Each and every one. How did that happen? My parents worked at it. They taught us to work at it. We work at it. It’s worth it to work at it.

Family connections go both ways: up generations and down. If you are a parent, make specific plans to strengthen those family ties. Establish traditions (yes, they can be crazy; we have some crazy little traditions in our fambly). Keep important routines. Bake that cake or that favorite meal. Cherish your moments.

So, call your brother. Send a note to you mom. Text your sister. Send a heart emoticon to your son. Keep the connections going with love, as far as it is possible with you. God loves family. He blesses attempts to grow the bonds of love.

When the Boughs Break

From this site: https://www.icr.org/article/12849/When+the+Boughs+Break


July 4, 2021
When the Boughs Break
“When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favor.” (Isaiah 27:11)

Like a mighty tree towering over the forest, God raises up a mighty nation from time to time, with a great leader, to accomplish some purpose in the divine plan. He “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26).

But when that nation and its leaders become proud, and its people become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, it becomes like a tree whose branches wither and whose core becomes riddled with insect-caused decay. Finally, the boughs break, the kingdom will fall, and down will come that nation, its leaders and all!

That happened even to God’s chosen nation, Israel, though only for a time, since God’s promises cannot fail. One after another, the mighty nations that God used to chastise His wayward people—Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Rome, etc.—have in turn been judged for their own rebellion against the God who “made them” and “formed them.” God has warned that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

Is that about to happen to our beloved USA as well? The signs of self-seeking power and pride among our leaders and moral decay and spiritual rebellion among our people are widespread and growing worse. Our prayer should be that of the ancient prophet. “O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years,…in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6). HMM