Monday Meet: Clergy Appreciation Month

fall-church-hill-crossesOctober is Clergy Appreciation Month and the second Sunday in October Clergy Appreciation Day. Can you think of an act of kindness you can do for a minister and their family? Below is an article from a Focus on the Family site, The Thriving Pastor. You can go to this site for more ideas on how to honor someone in the Clergy…


Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the church and the community. It is also important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.

The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is one way we can counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with the positive affirmation they need.

Don’t your pastors and their families deserve this kind of recognition? Do something about it today!

Dairy Free Grape Salad

grapesIt’s the holidays and I love a good fruit salad as a side or desert. Here’s a great one…


4 lbs. red seedless grapes [I mix in green ones also for the color]

16 oz. Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

8 oz. Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

1 cup pecans, chopped fine

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup or less brown sugar

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, half the nuts, and white sugar. Fold in grapes. Smooth into 9 x 13 dish. Mix remaining nuts and brown sugar [more or less than a cup according to your taste] Sprinkle over the top of grape mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Monday Meet: One Act of Kindness

We never know when we perform an act of kindness to another, especially a stranger, what that act will lead to or what it might mean to that person. Here’s my story of one such act of kindness that changed my life.fall border redone

Without this person’s kindness, I am almost certain my writing career wouldn’t be.

It was a few years ago—probably 2009. I’d been writing for 14 long, long years—and no traditional book contracts. Anyway, I had sent out my latest book proposal to agents and publishers.

Several responded positively by wanting the full manuscript. Yay! A good sign that my writing was improving. More and more often, I would get requests for the full manuscript, but that was where it stopped. No offers to be my agent or publisher.

Just anothWTerryWhalinHeadShotMediumer dead end! Sigh!

Then I received an email from one agent, Terry Whalin, that he would be calling me. You can imagine my excitement. I was sure he was calling to offer to represent my book. Oh, my dream was almost a reality.

But I was wrong!

I ignored the sting of yet another rejection as he told me my writing wasn’t quite ready, but he had some suggestions for me. Terry told me if I was serious about my writing, I should join American Christian Fiction Writers.

So I did.

And what a blessing that turned out to be. I learned so much in a short period of time. And by December 2010, I had my first book contract! And two weeks later, a second one! And now, I’m up to contract number 7!

Talk about being grateful—my sixth traditionally-published book-REDEMPTION-was recently released, and I have a contract for a seventh and working on an eighth. Anyway, I can assure you I am one grateful writer. Each new contract and book is a cause for celebration!

And none of it would have happened without the act of kindness on Terry’s part to take the time to call me. I don’t know why he did, but I’m very glad for his act of kindness.

Thanks so much, Terry Whalin.

Contributed by Lillian Duncan

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at





Here’s a great article!

Originally posted on Bunny Kitchen:

Appetite is both a psychological and physical phenomenon. Sometimes we eat for reasons like when we’re bored, stressed, tired, thirsty, or just because you “have to eat” other than our body needing nourishment. There are many weight loss programs and diet pills marketed as appetite suppressants; one such is the HCG diet available in many nutrition or health food stores online (should you consider this, make sure to purchase only from those with trusted HCG merchant account), but this should only be used under medical supervision because this could be dangerous for people with medical conditions.

View original 550 more words

Holidays and Gluten-Free

pbChristina here. You can have a holiday menu that’s gluten-free. It just takes a little work. Anyway, today I’ll share my all time favorite Thanksgiving dessert. It’s been handed down through several generations.  Grandma Sexton was born Pearl Sabre Kelly in Plattsburg, Winston, Mississippi, November 1890. I don’t know where she got the recipe from, but it is the absolute best pie (if you like peanut butter) ever made, but I LOVE peanut butter. I’m addicted to peanut butter.

Grandma Sexton’s Peanut Butter Pie


1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs (Mom recently discovered medium eggs work best)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (Gluten free)

1/3 cup peanut butter (make sure it’s not contaminated)

1 9″ pie shell (I’ve used Gluten Free Pantry, but I think I’ll try something else this year. Also, Mom makes me an individual pie in a small custard dish without the crust, so I’m sure you can make this crustless.)

Combine all ingredients. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. While leaving the pie in the oven, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more.


Monday Meet: What Will People Say?

Phil for The Most Important Thing BlogOctober is a special month of anniversaries in our household. It’s the month of marriages—mine and my in-laws, my grandmother was born this month, and my younger brother died from a heart attack at the end of October 2013.

That last hit the family hard. Phil was only fifty and had four children at home. No one who knows them can deny that his kids adored him, and the reason wasn’t a secret. He was a big kid himself. All you have to do is check out his goofy, dimpled grin to understand that statement.

In August of 2013, we gathered at Phil’s house to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. Our family is scattered, so seeing one another isn’t always easy or convenient. In fact, we hadn’t all been together in the same location since 2002. For the party, we invited extended family and friends who had been close to my parents for years. It was quite a celebration. At the time, we had no idea of the importance of that occasion or that three months later, we would gather again, minus one.

I don’t mean this to be a depressing post. On the contrary, it’s a celebration of a Christian man whose life impacted many others in ways that weren’t driven home until his funeral.

Almost everyone attending from our family needed a motel room and we scrambled to find affordable ones, hopefully, in the same hotel. In the midst of phone calls and emails back and forth, my sister-in-law informed us of a gentleman who had heard of Phil’s passing. He worked for a major hotel chain and offered to provide as many rooms as we needed, for as long as we needed, at no cost to us. Why? Because Phil had led his mother to the Lord shortly before her death, and he wanted to share his gratitude by using his personal hotel points to give back. Needless to say, we were all appreciative, not only for this man’s generosity, but for the blessing of discovering the effect my brother made on someone else’s life.

That wasn’t all. At the funeral, the pastor called for those who would like to say a word about what Phil meant to those in attendance. One by one, people stood and talked about his love of God and willingness to share the gospel. They joked about his goofy grin and ability to brush off teasing. (He gained a lot of experience with the latter while growing up.) They talked about his role as a husband and father. Then the pastor did what would have made Phil happiest. He presented the gospel.

No one knows you like family. Then again, there are things family members don’t know. Have you ever considered what people will say about you when you’re gone? It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?


Contributed by Sandra Ardoin

Holidays and Dairy-Free

holiday foodI love the holidays. Food, fun, and fellowship. What could be more fun? Nothing.

Unless you have food allergies.

For October and November, Christina and I will be sharing dairy-free and gluten-free recipes, perfect for the holidays. Hopefully, you’ll discover something new to incorporate into your next family gathering…


I’m starting off October by re-sharing something I cook every Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 large cans sweet potatoes ( I prefer mashed)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 stick butter or margarine (softened)

Drain and mash potatoes if not already mashed.  Add 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and 1 stick butter (softened); mix well.  Spread into pan.



2 cups brown sugar

2/3 cup flour

2 cups chopped pecans

2/3 c. butter or margarine, melted


Mix brown sugar, flour, pecans, and melted butter; crumble on top of casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.