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Ah, she’s awake and smiling. I plant a kiss on the top of her head.
 Giggles. More smiles. She coos and “converses” with me.

I watch her play. “Plop!” She looks over the bassinet and on the floor.

“Uh-oh”. I pick up her bottle. She’s still learning to hold it on her own.

More conversation. Squeals. “Singing”. Lovely.

Earlier, we were going through the process of clearing her nasal congestion…

With warm running in the sink, I let her play, watching her fascination as she tries to catch the water flowing through her long fingers.

I take the top off the nasal spray (natural product, of course). I show it to her; then I spray it towards the mirror so she can see it. She smiles. Reaches for it. I hold her as she holds the bottle. Let her “spray” it. Gently, I place the nozzle in each nostril. 1-2-3 squirts each one. She blinks with each one. Water runs continuously during this time, her reward-playing with it after I’m finished. We repeat this again with the bulb syringe. Touch. Feel. Hold. Squeeze. I fill the syringe with water, hold it up, let her watch the water flow out and down the sink. I hold her hand, she holds the syringe, she watches in the mirror as she places it near her nose. She squeezes, her eyes blinking, inhaling, as the air blows out. She smiles and coos. She watches me in the mirror as I clear her passages. Again, she enjoys her reward. We finish with a warm compress to her face, say “Bye-Bye” to her dirty tissues vanishing into the toilet, and clean the nozzle and syringe. She watches. I let her hold, spray, squeeze, before everything is put away.

She plays for awhile, then it’s back to sleep. Her sleep is quiet, and her breathing is easy.

 

What is the measure of faith?

I lay down every night, I expect to wake up every morning-and breathe-that’s faith.

I wake up every morning, I expect to be able to see with my eyes, open my mouth and speak-that’s faith.

I wake up, I expect to remember my name, who I am, and where I am-that’s faith.

I wake up, I expect to able to move my arms, my hands, my legs, to get out the bed-that’s faith.

I flip on the light switch, I expect the lights to come on-that’s faith.

I turn on the faucet, I expect the water to come out-that’s faith.

I expect to able to groom myself, put on my clothes/shoes the right way, cook for/feed myself-that’s faith.

I get in my car and turn the ignition, I expect the car to start-that’s faith.

I send my children to school, I expect them to come home safely-that’s faith.

I travel to/from work, school, etc., I expect to arrive/return safely home-that’s faith.

…And when these things don’t happen, I am shocked…

So what is faith?

I am: convicted, confident, convinced; I have a fundamental trust, a reality, a hope, a proof-of what I do not see.

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

 

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Photo Source: http://www.public-domain-image.com/full-image/nature-landscapes-public-domain-images-pictures/winter-public-domain-images-pictures/edge-of-forest-in-winter-scenic.jpg-free-stock-photo.html

 

I love winter.

The cold wakes you up, or makes you wrap up under the sheets, blankets, comforters-pajamas?

Snow. The laughter of children enjoy this special treat when it hangs around for awhile.

The beauty of the naked trees, sometimes encased like glass under the ice. Odd, peculiar shapes hidden by leaves now show.

Bundle up: thermal underwear under layers of clothes, hats, mittens, socks and stockings, boots, scarves, and more.

Hot Tea with lemon, several cups warm you up. Soothe. Calm. Necessary to do this time of the year, but it is Pure Pleasure.

Warmth from the fireplace, listen to the sounds of the wood burning in the flames. Watch the embers glow as it finally goes out.

 

Hearty meals of stews, chunky vegetable soups, thick pieces of bread, mouth watering smells of pumpkin and sweet potato pies.

Time with family in close quarters. Read. Play games. Watch TV. Laugh. Catch up. Enjoy each other.

…and the wind blows, as the quiet of night falls.

 

 

 

For all who work in the healthcare profession:

God bless you. You made the decision to serve humanity in the medical field. The years of school, many hours of study, learning twice as much principles, philosophies, methods, etc. of medicine in such a short period of time, large student loans to repay-you sacrificed.

God protect you. Emergency rooms are full, sometimes overflowing with patients. For the many hours on your feet, sometimes eating a hot meal gone cold, patiently dealing with irritated, at times unreasonable, sick patients and upset family members-you’re there.

You’re human. You’re not perfect. You make mistakes. You’re not God.

I praise God for you, and I pray for you. My life is in your hands when I’m sick and in pain, and sometimes what I do on my own doesn’t work. I make it my business to lift you up before God-the original physician, healer, creator, and restorer of my body, of my health. You are his co-laborer, so I ask him to give you wisdom, strength, compassion, and faith. I love, appreciate you, and the care you give!

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Photo Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10107&picture=stethoscope

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22,23

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” -Galatians 5:25

Two very familiar passages. Pretty heavy fruit. Serious right living. Something to bear in mind when seeking a church home: Is the church I’m looking to join bearing Spirit fruit planted by God?

This reliable standard goes beyond praise and worship styles, prayer meetings, auxillaries/ministries departments, outreach programs, and all the workings of organized religion in church. It looks past the smiling faces, friendly hugs, and polite etiquette. It looks deep into the heart of a church’s members.

Jesus was never impressed with church folk. He pierced through their works to the inside of their souls. Attitudes and motives caught his attention. Always. I think of the Good Samaritan account, and the lawyer who asked Jesus who was his neighbor. Jesus answered his question with this story-then asked the lawyer who was the neighbor. Then there’s the Prodigal Son story, describing the actions and reactions of the father, the wayward son, and the faithful elder brother. The other story that stands out in my mind is the Widow’s Mite, and Jesus’ silence as he watched the congregants put in their offerings. He openly praised the widow’s act of putting all she had into the plate. Oh yes, I forgot about the rich young ruler. He did right, lived right, from his youth, but chose not to follow Jesus after he was told to sell all his wealth.

The appearance of doing right, and living right, is not enough in God’s eyes. These acts should be fruit born of the seed of pure love for God, and for all his people. He asks why am I doing right? God wants to know, and the book of Acts clearly shows, do I love him from my heart-or is it just for show? Have I brought God down to my level of selfishness, doing good works for me or for him? Or to get things for me and my four, and no more? My thoughts, my motives I hide from man who sees smiles, and works-but God sees hearts.

Yes, God can tell if a church’s fruit is good or bad. Remember the fig tree Jesus cursed because it bore no fruit?

A FRUITFUL CHURCH: Oozes with a God-love that sets safe, loving, prayer-saturated boundaries for members to share their real selves, fearing no closed-mindedness and judgment. The joy continues long after the weekly praise & worship, miracles, and healings stop. Her members consciously seek peaceful ways of getting along with one another. Everyone practices longsuffering (patience), understanding every member is at a different stage of his or her walk with the Lord. Gentleness is shown consistently when restoring those who are fallen and weak in faith. The intent of the hearts of all members is to think, to speak, to do good and only good. Faith causes everyone to believe in and encourage each other to get up, brush off, to keep moving forward and upwards. The spirit of meekness recognizes all make mistakes, then effectively crushes and makes no room for pride. Temperance (self-control) governs every church member, because they are surrendered vessels to God.

Looking for a home church? Look for her Spirit Fruit.

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http://publicphoto.org/architecture/church-in-the-city/

 

 

Here’s a grain dish I made with what was left to cook in the fridge. I eyeballed this one, so forgive me please for the lack of measurements. Next time I’ll remember to measure everything. The fun, of course, is seeing what you can create!

Cooked quinoa

Fresh made toasted bread crumbs from 2 slices of whole grain white bread

1 garlic clove, crushed ( I love lots of garlic, had to control myself)

Dried Seasonings: sage, thyme, Carribbean, smoked paprika, Italian, basil, cayenne

Vegan chicken bouillon broth

Frozen garden vegan patty, heated just until it softens and crumbles easily

 

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

I used a small amount of vegetable oil, just enough, to oil the bottom and sides of a small glass casserole dish. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix lightly (use your clean hands, it’s OK) the quinoa, bread crumbs, and crushed garlic. Add seasonings, to taste.

Crumble the veggie patty into the mixture last. Stir all carefully, adding a little broth at a time, just to moisten everything. Adjust seasoning.

Spoon mixture into casserole dish. Bake in the oven, for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and smelling good. *Note: I covered the dish with foil, since the pan didn’t have a cover.

Remove from oven when done, and let cool. Cut into squares and serve.

The surprise: it tasted like cornbread stuffing! I baked acorn squash halves, stuffed with cranberries (sprinkled w/ brown sugar), alongside the quinoa casserole.

I chose to experiment with the seasonings above, so feel free to come up with a combination you like. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

For breakfast, I had left in the refrigerator:

1/2 bag fresh cranberries, rinsed

1 large apple, cored & sliced thin

1 pear, cored & sliced thin

1 cup Water

1/2 cup raw brown sugar

 

Bring the water and sugar to a gentle boil in a medium pot. I prefer no sugar at all, but I’m not the only one eating it. You can add more or less sugar to your liking, or use another natural sweetener of your choice.

Add the rinsed cranberries, once the sugar is dissolved.

Add the apple and pear slices.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer down to a thick consistency. Keep an eye on this, stirring every now and then, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Turn off stove. Let cool, or use hot if you’d like for topping waffles, pancakes, etc.

Transfer to a container when cool (I use glass), and store in the refrigerator. Mine keeps for a few days. I try to use everything I make within three days.

I completed my breakfast with cooked quinoa cereal, ground flaxseed topping, raw almonds, and the other half of the fruits. Later, I used this as a topping, as a side dish, and as a supper with whole-grain crackers & herbal tea.

 

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