1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup soy milk
3 T. mayonnaise
Stir just until smooth. Fill greased muffin tins half full. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
I was browsing the county fair art exhibit when I realized to my right was someone I knew. I turned to say hello. He looked up and gave a courteous nod. He didn’t recognize me under my sparse beard and shorter hair, so I gave him my name.
“Oh. Hello, Don.” He smiled politely. He still wore the same beige trench coat, looking more at home in the city than our lumbermill town.
“So, Lyle, you’re still the juvenile officer here.”
“Not for long,” he said. “Moving to Olympia in the fall.”
“Oh. Congratulations on the new job.” I looked down, searching for my next words. “I’m going to college now. It’s my second year. I’m studying counseling and Bible.”
I watched for a sign of approval in his solemn face as I shuffled my feet. “I’m thinking of doing social work – maybe with teenagers. Or working as a counselor in a church.”
“Oh, really.” He raised his eyebrows and nodded.
I didn’t want to bring up the past, but I had to. My palms got sweaty as I cleared my throat, glancing to my right and left. “About what I did in high school, Lyle. You said there’d be some community service. Maybe a fine.”
“Yes,” he said, ignoring my nervousness.
“Well, it’s been three years and nothing’s happened. It’s just that,” I took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes, “for whatever reason you decided not to do anything to me, I just wanted to say thanks. Thank you very much.”
Hands still in his pockets, he nodded and said, “Sounds like we made the right decision.” He smiled. I wished him well in his new job, clumsily shook his hand, then went to find my parents.
I don’t know how much Lyle struggled over his decision to waive the penalty for my teenage crime, but I am grateful he did, especially considering he had no guarantee that I would straighten out my life.
I didn’t know Lyle to be a religious man, so it surprises me how much his actions remind me of Someone else.
Christ had no guarantee I would take His mercy to heart. Even so, He made the risky and generous decision that canceled my penalty by paying it Himself. Believe me, it had nothing to do with my worthiness. If spiritual merit were a bank account, my balance would be zero. The apostle Paul said it best: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8; NIV).
Since Jesus offers us such generous mercy, we would do well to accept it, repenting of our blunders and placing our lives in His hands. Then we can spend the rest of our lives giving humble thank‑yous to the One who gave it all.
As a grateful receiver of Christ’s mercy I want to live in such a way that when I finally see Him, He’ll smile, nod His head, and say, “Well done, Don. I knew I made the right decision.”
Contributed by Don White
All right, y’all! This recipe has become one of my favorites. Hubs likes it, the youngest loves it and it’s super healthy and absolutely delicious. Now if only I can get the other two children to try it.
Preheat oven to 375
Cut spaghetti squash in half. Clean the seeds out a bit and place halves pulp down.
Bake 30-40 minutes.
While your squash is baking, ground up your turkey or hamburger. I cook up a bit of fresh zucchini (1 cup) and red onion (1/4 cup) in olive oil before I add the hamburger. Once the hamburger is cooked, drain and rinse. Add your choice of gluten free spaghetti sauce.
Spoon your sauce-meat mixture over your noodles and top with Parmesan cheese.
You can even serve the squash without the sauce, it’s that good.
My church youth leader during high school, Mrs. B, wasn’t just my teacher, she was my forever friend for decades to come. I’m not quite sure how our relationship changed from mentor/mentee to friend, and I couldn’t give you a specific date, or event when it evolved. But I can tell you, I’m forever grateful it happened.
Mrs. B was someone who listened, gave good advice, and walked the walk. She was someone I looked up to. Someone I wanted to imitate. Through our weekly Bible classes, I learned a lot about how we are to grow more and more like Jesus every day. More importantly, through Mrs. B’s life, I saw what that looked like.
The week before I graduated from high school, Mrs. B took me shopping. While we ate lunch at the restaurant, she listened as I spoke about my future husband. I remember we both giggled like school girls. My surprise wedding shower was held at her home. You would have thought she was the one getting married, she was so happy.
After my parents moved twelve hours away, Mrs. B became my substitute mother during my pregnancy. She called me daily during those final last weeks, after I was diagnosed with toxemia, to make sure I was all right.
Once my son was born, Mrs. B adopted him as her own grandchild. He couldn’t have asked for any better gift. Nor could I.
When my husband was in a life-threatening car accident on his way to work, Mrs. B was there to comfort, counsel, and care. She didn’t even complain when I got us lost driving through Washington, DC, coming home from the hospital. She just set up a group of volunteers to drive me back and forth, until I became more confident with the drive.
After my husband left, and the subsequent divorce, Mrs. B showed me nothing but unconditional love, support, and acceptance. There was no judgment or condemnation. A more precious gift you’ll never find.
Three years later, when I remarried, Mrs. B was unable to attend the wedding. That particular Saturday, she led a woman’s event at her new church in Florida. While I missed her physical presence at such a happy time in my life, her call to let me know she was with me in spirit, and so very happy for me, meant more than I could say.
Right before her husband died, I called Mrs. B. As she handed the phone to Mr. B, I heard her say, “Little Sandy’s on the phone, Babe.” Little Sandy. I smiled. The woman I never called by her first name, even though invited to do so, exhibited the love of Christ to me in more ways than she will ever know. All the way from Little Sandy, to grown-up Sandy.
As Jesus told his disciples, whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me.
Contributed by Sandy Quandt
Woven and Spun: the woven threads of an author’s life offering encouragement and hope
I love cobbler! Easy and delicious, my family calls for more. Extra special with a scoop of So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla ice cream melting on top.
1/2 cup light Parkay
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup soy milk
2 cups fruit
1 cup or less of sugar for fruit
Melt margarine in 10 inch baking dish. In separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, and baking powder; add milk and mix. Spoon mixture over melted margarine. Don’t stir. Heat fruit with sugar. Cool. Pour over dough. Don’t stir. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
On August 9th, 2013, my mother passed away after a ten month battle with leukemia. My world was shattered. The thought of not seeing her or hearing her beautiful voice everyday was almost more than I could handle. I could no longer hold her hand or feel her arms around me giving me one of her famous hugs. You know, the kind that makes everything in the world seem okay.
I tried so hard to be strong and to keep my brave face on for the world, but I was so broken inside. My heart was in pieces and I didn’t know how to put it back together.
As much as I tried to hide the pain, my best friend, Mandy, saw right through the mask. I’ve literally known her since the day she was born, which occurred on my third birthday. Our mothers had been friends since they were teens and raised us together. I consider her another sister. Through my mother’s illness, she was right by my side even if that meant a phone call at one in the morning so I could cry.
Fast forward to December 24, 2013. Facing daily life is hard after losing someone, but the holidays are unbearable. I wanted to pretend Christmas wasn’t happening, but with two small children that wasn’t an option. I had broken down several times that morning, telling my husband more than once, “I just want my mom.”
Around nine, I heard a knock on the door and opened it to find Mandy and another very special friend, Jessica, standing there with a bag. In that bag was a quilt, but not just any quilt. This quilt was constructed from my mother’s clothing; her favorite shirts, pajamas, robes, and the hats and scarves she had worn when the chemo made her lose her hair. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I felt a piece of my heart heal while I stood there letting those memories wash over me.
When Mandy decided to enlist Jessica’s help and make me the quilt, I don’t think she understood what it would mean. They weren’t giving me a keepsake, but a piece of my mother. It was something tangible I could hold on to when I desperately needed to feel her close. Something I could wrap my babies in or curl up under when I was sick or sad.
For a moment, I was back in her arms or holding her precious soft hand. All of those hours spent cutting, arranging, and sewing those pieces together made more than a quilt. They helped heal and sew my broken heart back together. Did they really know what they were giving me? I think not. The thankfulness in my heart is beyond description because of this quilt made by love.
Contributed by Kimberly Smith
One of my favorite things about warmer weather, besides wearing flip-flops, is the ability to grill. I take every opportunity to grill vegetables. My top picks are squash, zucchini, corn, mushrooms and asparagus. I won’t get into my grilling recipes, yet as it’s not quite warm enough to start the grill, but I will share this simple and delicious asparagus recipe that you can cook in the oven.
Asparagus, washed and ends cut
Lay your asparagus in a glass cake pan, drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your asparagus, and then sprinkle sea salt. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes and presto, perfect asparagus.
For a variation, use fresh Parmesan instead of lemon juice.