Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Gift from Your Kitchen! Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

4 1-oz unsweetened chocolate squares
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup water

Stir chocolate squares, sugar, and butter together in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until well combined. Whisk in water until sauce is smooth.  Spoon into a pretty jar.  Decorate with small ornaments or personalized labels.  This has all of the anti-oxidant benefits of dark chocolate and is low in fat. 

This delicious topping is the perfect topping for ice cream, pound cake or as a dip for fruit.

Yields approx. 1 cup   (from Mature Living Dec. Magazine)

Ecclesiastes Chapter 8

Key verses in Chapter 8 to think about:
8:6 - For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though
a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.

8:8 -No man has power over the wind to contain it,
so no one has power of the day of his death.  As no one is discharged in
time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

8:17 - No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun.  Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.
(NIV version)

An apple a day

This body is my house--it is not I.
Triumphant in this faith, I live and die.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ecclesiastes Chapter 7

As I posted in my interpretation of Chapter 6, our life's purpose isn't always the most important thing to worry about.  Our purpose should be to worry about our destiny or eternity.  As Chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes teaches us, (see v. 1-2) that it is our destiny to die and this should not be taken lightly.  For life is temporary.  Death lasts for eternity.  If we live our life for God and HE is our savior, then the ending is better than the beginning!  That is exciting to me.  Life is fleeting, live it to please God.  Patience is better than pride.  We do not need to be provoked in our spirit, for anger is for the foolish.  What does anger solve?  Nothing, period. 
Perhaps the most profound and meaningful verse in chapter 7 is verse 14.
It says "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider:
photo by Freida
God has made the one as well as the other.  "Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future."  To me this means God is in charge, do what he says and TRUST HIM.  Then you can be sure HE's got your back and eternity with HIM will be worth everything you went through HERE, under the sun. 
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An apple a day

'Yes, it's pretty hard,' the optimistic old woman admitted. 'I have
to get along with only two teeth---one upper, one lower--but, thank
goodness, they meet.'

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5

Chapter 5 has key verses that tell us what things we should do while here on earth whether we understand them or not.  In other words,
God is God and is in heaven,  we are down here.  Who are "we" to question  God.  When or if God gives us any wealth and posessions, and enables us to enjoy them, then we should be content with what we have and be good stewards of it.  Because in the end vs. 15 reminds us that "Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs."  The blessings and possessions we have while on earth are gifts from God, we do not own them, for if it weren't for God, we wouldn't have anything.  We need to "guard our steps" and be careful not to make a vow to God and not fulfill it.  Work hard, enjoy it, but remember to thank the GIVER!  vs. 12. The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but "the abundance  of a rich man permits him no sleep." 
Consider this: God does not mean for us to understand everything about our life or his purpose for us.  Instead, focus on our eternity and not on the mundane things in life.  Your interpretation of the verses in Ecclesiastes may be very different from mine.  That's ok, and the way it should be.  God speaks through his word "differently" to each one of us.  We need only to listen and God will speak.

An apple a day

Patience--in time the grass becomes milk.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 4

The rising and fallling, the peaks and valleys in our lives are what
make it interesting.  Though circumstances sometimes seem unbearable and
scarey, we can be assured that God is behind every scene that unfolds in our lives and HE has our back.  When we fall, he always sends a friend our way to "pick us up!"  There is no need to worry about our purpose every minute.  All in due time will be made known.

We see after reading chapter 4, that the writer is still mostly negative about
what he sees and understands about life, however I chose today not to focus
so much on what this chapter is still dwelling on, but what comes later on as we continue through the reading of Ecclesiastes.  Hang in with me, and
there is a positive lesson to be learned here.

But tonight, just know that we (you) are not alone in this world.  The God who created you and I loves us so much and always has a purpose in mind for us.  We will have to just trust him. 

                                      photo by Freida

An apple a day

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue,
but the parent of all other virtues.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford, SC Has Best Christmas Light Display "Holiday Lights Safari" - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com
Thanksgiving Haiku - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is where we begin to find the answer to what life's purpose is.  The "A time for everything" I call it is comforting to read when we begin to ask the question "Why."  The reality is that God has a purpose for "everything under the sun."  Every single step we take, word we say, hug we share, trial we go through has a purpose.  Most times our human eyes can't see the purpose behind tragedy especially.  This is when it is hardest, but after reading Chapter 3 verses 1-8, we find that it is a little easier because it is the plan of God.  I just want to record these verses here for your convenience and reading again.

Chapter 3 says: 1.There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2. a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3. a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5. a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6. a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7. a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to keep, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8. a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
The king in Jerusalem in the first two chapters was right in the since that life does go in a circular motion, and there is nothing new under the son.  Everything that happens has happened before, maybe not to you, but to someone.  The difference is "life is not meaningless," but exactly the opposite!
As I said before, every step and action we take in our life "means" something, whether it is to you personally or to someone who knows or observes you.  Our life experiences as well as other people's experiences are meant to entertwine and teach us things.  Our lives are mirrors through which we see ourselves, but which others see as a reflection of ourselves.  Our perception of ourselves can be very different than that of others and in fact often are.  These are my thoughts when I read Chapter 3.  Please share your thoughts if you are inclined to do so.

We are all similar to these ducks, different sizes, colors with different personalities and traits, but in the beginning we are each given breath, and in the end, we all die.  We just all march toward the end at different paces and through unique circumstances, but we are all alike, just like our fellow creatures of the air and sea, we too will die.
photo: Freida

An apple a day

Some folks just don't seem to realize when they're
moaning about not getting prayers answered, that NO is
the answer.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An apple a day

If you would know the greatest sum in addition,
Photo credit :Freida Thomas
count your blessings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Study of Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2

In Chapter 2 verses 1-26 the Teacher, a king in Jerusalem is still looking for the purpose of life.  He decides to "test" life's pleasures to find out what is good. (verse1)  He tries to find happiness with wine, laughter, folly.  He wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.  He planted vineyards, built houses, made gardens and parks.  He even amassed silver and gold and had a harem.  He gave himself all the delights of a man's heart.  He denied himself nothing, but he realizes in the end he is still not at peace and called all of his accomplishments  "meaningless."  He states in verse 16 "For a wise man, like the fool will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise man too must die."  So, he had no joy, hated his life and despite all he has gained in his life, he must leave to someone who has not earned it when he dies.  So what has he gained by all of his toil and trouble?

I think this chapter is so relevant to how people are today.  Everyone is busy building up treasures on the earth, competing with "the Jones."  Concentrating on material and sexual pleasures and perversions.  Most have no time for the things of God.  As we read chapter 3 for tomorrow, let's think about where we are in our lives.  Does our life have joy and contentment or are we bound up in the things we can "achieve and acquire?"
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An apple a day

He only is advancing in life whose heart is getting softer,
his blood warmer, his brain quicker, and his spirit is
entering into living peace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Study of Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1

I have read the book of Ecclesiastes (NIV version) many times over, and
I always have a different perspective on it every time I read it.  So, I'm reading it again.  I'm going to go chapter by chapter and write my thoughts
on what I get from it.  Feel free to read a chapter a day with me and comment whenever you want to share your interpretation of what the writer is saying.  Let's get started today. Read chapter 1.  I have...here are my thoughts.

A teacher and son of David is looking for a purpose to his life.  I too, am still looking for my purpose, so I can relate to this.  In verses 5-8, I sense him saying that everything in life goes and comes in a circle.  He says "The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises."
The streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full, and where the stream flowed from, they end up returning to the same place.

I think the Teacher is asking himself "What does life really matter?"  We are here enduring the same things again and again.  What is new?  What in life has a purpose? There is nothing new under the sun.

He says in verse 12 that he has seen everything under the sun and has seeked wisdom, all to no avail.  He calls everything meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  He sounds very doubtfull that the twisted and screwed up things in life cannot be straightened.  He calls the wisdom he has gained comes with sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

I wonder first, how old is this teacher?  He is down, negative and feels lost at this time as to what the future holds for him.  People today I think feel the same way many times.  Many are lost and don't know which way to go.
We feel life is meaningless.  But is it?  Think about how you feel about
your life as we read together the second chapter of Ecclesiastes for tomorrow.

Until then, may God give us a clear picture of what the Teacher is saying to us individually.

An apple a day

If we pause to think, we will have cause to thank...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mental Yoga

A friend shared this piece with me in an email and I wanted to share
it with you...

Good thoughts to start the first day of the rest of your life!

A young lady in front of the room, confidently walked around while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?' .... she fooled them all...

'How heavy is this glass of water?' she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.

The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you hold it.' If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. "If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. ''In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. 'She continued, 'and that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.'

'As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. 'So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home... pick it up tomorrow.' 'Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now 'supposed' stress that you've conquered!

And then she shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

1 * Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4 * Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8 * Never buy a car you can't push.

9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

10 *Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11 * since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12 * the second mouse gets the cheese.

13 * When every thing's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

15 * you may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

16 * some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

17 * we could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

19 * Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

An apple a day

The light that shows us our sin is the light that heals us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bible Verse for Today

Behold God's Nature!
Photo credit: Freida 11/11/2010

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
NIV: Proverbs 3: 7-8
My Top Ten Legendary Christmas Crooners Past and Present - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

Do you want to listen to some of the best Christmas music by the best legendary Christmas artists of all time? Check out this article for recommendations before you turn on the radio!

Who are your favorite Christmas croomers. Share your favorites with me in the comment section.

Happy Holidays!

An apple a day

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

I know this all too well.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bible Verse for Today

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to a rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
NIV: Psalm 61:1-4

photo credit: Freida

An apple a day

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the
ability to make ourselves do the thing we have to do
when it ought to be done, whether we like it or not.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pecan Pie Bars

Wonderful little pecan pie bars you can't stop eating! Great for a church social or holiday cookie exchange.

1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. plus 3 T. brown sugar, packed
and divided
1/2 c. plus 2 T. butter, divided
2 eggs
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Combine flour with 3 tablespoons brown sugar; cut in 1/2 cup butter until coarse crumbs form. Press into a lightly greased 11"x7" baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. While crust is baking, beat eggs in a large bowl and add remaining brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Blend in pecans and pour mixture into hot crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen.
credit: Gooseberrypatch.com
Actress and Broadway Veteran "Jill Clayburgh" Dead at 66 After Battling Lymphocytic Leukemia - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

An apple a day

Instead of waiting upon the Lord, some people want
the Lord to wait upon them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eat More Cranberries - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

Thanksgiving Family Traditions

I am interested in what your Thanksgiving traditions are.
If you feel inclined to do so, share with me and others in the comment section special traditions your family practice during the Thanksgiving holiday!  I look forward to hearing from readers.

An apple a day

I can alter my life by altering my attitude of mind.

Eat plenty of oranges in winter for vitamin C

Peel, slice and sprinkle a little powdered sugar on oranges for a sweet
addition to your breakfast.  Delicious!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let sleeping dogs lie---really!

Teach your child that a good sleep reduces stress for pets and
helps keep them healthy and happy, just as it does for people.

An apple a day

God never closes one door without opening another...it just may not
be as soon as you'd hope for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Halloween Pictures From Spartanburg, SC - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

Check out the costumes in this slideshow. Pictures were taken at my church's fall festival on Oct. 31, 2010.

Hope all of you had a happy Halloween! Now on to Thanksgiving.

An apple a day

I want a soul so full of joy----
Life's withering storms cannot destroy.