Friday, December 30, 2016

Who Are the Extra-Ordinary People?

Uncle Larry
This past week the social media, as well as the television news channels, have put together montages of all the celebrities that have passed away this past year. People make comments about how sad it is to lose so many talented people in one year. They might also make comments about how good or inspiring this or that person was, although they may not know who that person was in the everyday. They are only speculating about their goodness or inspiration through some movie they starred in or a song that inspired and influenced them.

Usually I don't pay that much attention to all the celebrity hype. I don't follow movie/television stars or singers. It doesn't matter to me who they date or what they may be saying about the political process.

However, I think that maybe it shocks people to think that this person they have admired for so long, this person who has played a certain inspiring role on the big screen, this person who has sung the most beautiful love song, this person has died. How can that be?

Then I began to think about those whom the Preacher and I have lost within this past year. The Preacher lost his little sister and just this week I lost my uncle, my mother's little brother. Where is the montages of their lives? Why are their deaths not announced on the television news?

It is because they were just ordinary people. The little people. The people who live in fly-over country. That's what the media might say. But in our hearts, they were extra-ordinary. Their lives were not little and they lived here with us in this beautiful fly-over country. They were good people, they did things in their lives that inspired others. Maybe they didn't inspire the whole nation but they inspired their families.   

My uncle was a kind-hearted person. He was only 10 years older than me. My grandparents waited 10 years between their first two children and their last two children. He was funny and he had a great smile. I remember him so well. My brother and I used to stay all night with my uncle and aunt - we enjoyed being with them so much.

Unfortunately, the Preacher and I were not able to go back to Indiana to attend either one of our family member's funerals, but that doesn't mean that the loss is any less. We both have shed tears for those who we consider the bright stars in our families.

Death does come. It will come for us all. It doesn't matter who or what you have done or are doing in your lives. It doesn't matter where you live or how much money you make. What we can know is that through Christ there is a beautiful life after this one. It says in Revelation 21:4, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Our loved ones went on to be with the Lord this year and we know that they both are in pain no more.

So, when we look back upon this year and remember the celebrities who have passed on, don't forget that there may have been even bigger stars in our families that we have lost, and maybe we should be celebrating their lives during this last week of 2016.


Love from the Preacher and I


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Are You a Christian Grinch or Do You Celebrate With Christmas Pigs?


In November of this year, the Preacher and I went to Lowe’s Hardware store to look for some items we needed for the house. We walked through their Christmas section where we discovered all kinds of lights, wreaths, trees, all the things you would normally see displayed at this time of year. But the one decoration that made me laugh was the blow-up Hawaiian snowman with a lei around his neck. I pointed the snowman out to the Preacher and we decided that if we were still living in Florida we would definitely have to have that in our yard. And then I began to think just how silly this sort of thing is, putting blow-up snowmen in your yard. The judgmental part of me was coming out.

At the beginning of December, I was driving out of our housing division, when I came across our neighbor’s Christmas-decorated yard. I looked at the two animal-like creatures and wondered to myself, “Are those pigs or dogs?” I wasn’t sure, but upon closer look they were pigs! I immediately thought that they were so silly. What do pigs have to do with Christmas!? I caught myself becoming a little judgmental again.

What I was really thinking was “Don’t these people know that Jesus is the reason for this holiday?” Then I suddenly realized I was being a Christian Grinch.

I began to look around our little town. I saw all the decorations that are placed in yards, in the front of businesses, in our public park, and I realized something – Me being judgmental, and maybe a little angry, doesn’t further His Kingdom at all!

I decided to take a fresh look at the Christmas season. We need to look at how Jesus is in this season, whether people know it or not.

Take a look around you. You can see Jesus every where in this season. Many think that the candy cane represents Jesus’ purity, His blood on the cross and the shape represents a Shepherd. Also, many believe that the cutting of the Christmas tree was a symbolism of His death and resurrection. Then there is Santa Claus, Old Saint Nick. Originally, he was a monk who sold everything he had and gave to the poor. He became known as the protector of children. Through this symbolism comes the tradition of giving presents to family and friends.

Why do we need to be irritated when someone says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas? We usually don’t know that person well enough to judge them on the reason that they have chosen to not say Merry Christmas.

In our irritation over the world not recognizing that this is the season we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we are not showing Christian love. All we are showing is our piousness and legalism.

Celebrate this season. Celebrate it with His love. Celebrate the look on children’s faces when they see a lighted Christmas tree and a house all lit up with blow-up Santa’s and snowmen. Celebrate a child’s wonder when his mom or dad places him on the lap of a Santa Claus. Celebrate the light and the joy that the Christmas season brings to the cold winter days.


And don’t forget to celebrate the Christmas pigs!

Love and Merry Christmas from the Preacher and I

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pumpkin Dump Cake Recipe

Last week we invited some friends over for an early Christmas dinner. We knew they would be leaving soon to visit family in Florida, so we wanted to have them over to exchange gifts and to wish them a Merry Christmas.

For Christmas, our son had ordered a set of Le Creuset dishes and pans for the Preacher. We had received the pans just the week before so the Preacher wanted to make something in the casserole dish that came with the set. 

After we made plans with our friends, the Preacher and I began to put together our menu. He wanted to bake a ham with potatoes and carrots. I wanted to make a dessert using the mini cocotte dishes from the set of Le Creuset. Of course, I went to Pinterest to find a recipe.



I found a recipe for a pumpkin dump cake. I love dump cakes. They are so easy to put together. I have been making them for my family through out the years because, besides chocolate chip cookies, they are my son's favorite dessert. So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to make it for our friends.

I thought I would share it here with you. If you are having friends and family over for the holidays, this is an easy quick recipe that I'm sure they will love.

In the original recipe she adds pumpkin spice, but the Preacher does not like pumpkin spice, so I left it out. I also made individual desserts in the mini cocotte dishes, so instead of using a 9 x 13 pan, I used the 4 individual dishes and then finished the rest of the mixture in an 8 x 8 pan. I will list the ingredients and instructions on how I made mine. But please click on the link above to see the original.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 c melted butter
  • whipped topping

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  • Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan (or the bottom of the size of baking pan you choose to use)
  • Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and salt in a bowl, then pour into your pan. Since I was using the cocotte dishes, I used a measuring cup to pour the mixture into the individual dishes, filling them 3/4 full.

  • Sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture
  • Sprinkle the walnuts over the cake mix. 
  • Drizzle the melted butter evenly over everything. (I just cut the butter into pats of butter and laid them right on top of the cake mix and the walnuts.)
  • Bake your pumpkin dump cake for 55 minutes  until the top is turning golden brown(if you are baking in individual pans you might want to check on them in about 40 minutes) . Let cool and serve with whipped topping. (We used the heavy cream to make our own whipped topping.)

The dump cake turned out so sweet and moist and crunchy on top. I hope you, your family and friends enjoy the recipe! Let me know how you liked it.

Love from the Preacher and I 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Father Is A Preacher

While the Preacher and I were rummaging through boxes of our son's old school files, we came across a paper that he had written for Language Arts in the ninth grade. I thought I would share it with you today.


My father is a Preacher but teaching on Sunday's is not his only task. Being a Preacher is only the title that opens the door for multiple ways to help others and telling them of the word of God.

1. My father as a Preacher
A. Presentation for a sermon: My father spends many hours preparing his sermon referring many times to commentaries and bible verses.B. Baptism: As the Preacher, my father is responsible for baptizing the people of the church. 
II. My father as an Elder 
A. Leading the church: My father must lead the church as an Elder by making financial and schedule based decisions.B. Preparing devotions: As an Elder, my father must also lead devotions and small groups. 
 III. My father as a counselor
A. Talking with people: As a preacher, my father must not just preach to the people but also counsel them in their faith and other things. B.   Praying for people: As a counselor and preacher, my father has to be someone who people can go to for prayer.
As a Preacher, my father has a plethora of tasks and positions to enact, but as a Preacher he has accepted that all of these are the will of God and that as a Preacher, it is his job to surrender his heart and life to these tasks.


While reading this paper, I had just a little tear in my eye because as a young man, I think he understood the role of his father, the Preacher.

Love from the Preacher and I