Friday, December 16, 2011


I feel compelled to share this with you!

"The innocence of beauty and purity is sadly becoming a distant memory that is fading fast.  "God is Enthralled By Your Beauty" is a book that will allow you to fall in love with Almighty God and understand a glimpse of how He sees you even in this fallen world of distorted perception."

"Let us triumphantly rise to the occasion
and finally look into the mirror He sees us in".
(Teresa Criswell)

Recently, Debby from Heavenly Humor held a 'giveaway' and I was the fortunate recipient...the gift was a copy of Teresa Criswell's book "God is Enthralled by your Beauty".!

I had already read excerpts from Teresa's book on her blogs, Triumphant Victorious Reminders and God Is Enthralled By Your Beauty, but holding  this little book in my hands as my eyes feast upon her poignant words has blessed me beyond description.  It is really a little book...but it is HUGE in purpose and conveys what every woman (or anyone actually) should know!  It is filled with the richness of God's grace, mercy and un-bridled love.  Teresa speaks truth as she paints a vivid picture of one girls life.  She takes us step by step through a dream about this girl who is tormented by the lie of "unworthiness" and she shows us just how God enters in to expose that lie and show this child how very precious she is in His eyes. 

I've been extremely blessed to read and re-read it and to meditate on the truth of God's word through Teresa's  amazing gift of communication! 

"God desires to deliver us from living the counterfeit and delivers us into the life we were meant to live; the life of authenticity. 
The mandate is to reveal His majestic,
glorious beauty!
(Teresa Criswell)

an excerpt from Chapter 3:

"I cried out 'O God, why is she so drawn to this place of secrecy?  All she has to do is turn one hundred eighty degrees.  If she chose to do this I knew her eyes would be able to see clearly.  She would once again see herself through the eyes of the Father." 

"I watched with joy as I saw her turn with the King and she finally looked into the beautifully adorned mirror.  As she looked she was stunned to see her new image.  Her eyes now filled with freedom!"


Freedom is waiting! 

I'm so grateful for you Teresa and for you Debby!  

Debby, I'm also waiting with great expectation for your book!  What beautiful, talented women you both are! 
I'm delighted and honored to know you and call you friends!
Abundant blessings to you, always!

***(I was not asked to promote Teresa's book, or to mention Debby's up-coming book.  I just adore these talented women and wanted to share them with you)***

p.s...the song you hear playing in the background is by Lindsey Kane...another amazing woman!
This song is so appropriately titled "Measure of Beauty".   If you listen closely to the lyrics, they go perfectly with the title of Teresa's book! Teresa actually met Lindsey one day by chance...while out on errands...struck up a conversation.  When Lindsey learned of Teresa's book, she gave her a few cd's because the lyrics of her song were amazingly fitting!  There are no co-incidences!  God orchestrated a meeting of these two women and is blessing others through them!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Always Thankful

From hungry deer grazing on acorns...

To Geese taking flight ~

I'm constantly amazed at the beauty within sight!

As the one who creates hills of  velvet...


And calming waves at sea...

Places Autumn still life...


Adorns the ground with fallen leaves...


Makes me giggle at ducks frollicking...


Hedgeapples on display...

And the sweetness of a stroke across the horse's mane...

All of nature like a painting...

each wonderfully made!

Glowing vibrantly on autumn colors....

As He sets another sun...

And shines His light in a giant harvest moon...

Reminds me of His constant presence...

Unconditional love...

And showers me with grace!

Sets my table with abundance...

As I look into the eyes of each loving face!

I give thanks!

I give thanks!

I give thanks!


“In everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Friday, November 11, 2011





On the eleventh day

of the eleventh month

at the eleventh hour


The armistice was signed and fighting ceased...

"Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.
This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918,
two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect"

The armistice was eventually signed into law by congress as a national holiday to commemorate those who sacrifice for us…our veterans! Years later the name of this holiday “Armistice Day” was changed to “Veterans Day”. The appropriate way to salute those who were willing to sacrifice on our behalf because of their patiriotism and love of country.

Veteran's Day proclamation

And at the eleventh hour
a moment of silence was observed

At the eleventh hour on this eleventh day of this eleventh month

I will bow my head 
and give thanks!

(but even more than that, I'll give thanks for them each day!)


God Bless our Troops


Friday, November 4, 2011

Time for Soup!

As we get ready

turn back the clocks,

crank up the heat,

add layers of socks to warm our chilly feet...

we'll bring out the down and the flannel sheets,

And cook up something hot to eat!

This chill in the air is all the more reason,
For good hearty food...'s back to soup season

I   love   this   soup...

image from Fresh Market "Inspirations"
 Winter Squash Soup w/Chipotle Peppers & Cream 

This recipe just says Comfort to me!  Many of you already know that my husband runs the other way when this soup is served...

I  j u s t   d o n 't   u n d e r s t a n d ! 

Of course, each time I make it, I love to ask him...
"did you ever taste it?"  
That goes over well!  ;) 

As my husband sticks with his sandwich and chips,
I'll enjoy this heartwarming soup and the leftovers!

Oh, since I last made this, I've switched to "gluten free" pasta for my pasta sauce variation of this recipe...I love quinoa pasta - 
I like it for its taste, texture, and health benefits... 

!! Don't forget to turn back your clocks this week-end !!
They say we should do it at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday...
I've never figured out why!
REALLY....does anyone wait up until 2 a.m.
to change their clocks?! 

My husband always changes every clock in the house
 right around 6 p.m. on Saturday...

but that "throws me for a loop"...

that's why I make this soup!  (wink)   ;)

here's the recipe:


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tricks for Treats

Abby the Wonderdog!!!

We made this video of Abby two years ago...Since then she has added a few more tricks to her routine.  Hard to believe Abby is now nine years old! She never ceases to amaze us...but in typical dachsund fashion, she has "us" tricks without her treats! :)

Did somebody mention treats?


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simplicity is the "KEY" Lime Pie...

When I think of pie, the first thing that comes to mind is my favorite...

Key Lime Pie!

It is one of the simplest pleasures in life...better than cake to my taste buds...
a slice of happiness.

I used to think it was difficult to make...then I found a recipe and began to make it myself...with real key limes...all from scratch.  It was very good.  I was thrilled that it was so easy to prepare until I came across a simpler way...  "Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice".  My life suddenly became better!  I realized that squeezing limes was a thing of my past as I found the "key" to the best pie I've ever tasted.  What's better...the recipe for this no fail taste of heaven is right on the bottle!  Oh, thank you God for Nellie and Joe!  With a recipe as perfect as this, life is sweet delight!

With most foods, I prefer cooking from scratch, but this juice really is fresh and I don't mind taking the easy way out occasionally for a convenient alternative.

There is one thing, however, that I will never a crust!  Feel free to call me a pie crust snob, but in my opinion, nothing compares to the freshness of a homemade crust.  Many of the pre-packaged pie crusts have additives to extend their shelf life which are really, really bad for you.  I admit that even homemade crusts are not the most healthy thing to eat...but they taste so much better and even though butter has saturated fat, it is not as harmful as the trans fats found in substitutes. Yes, butta is betta...and of course, moderation is "key"! 

Here is the recipe for this elegant pie...which makes me look like the queen whenever I serve it....but truth is, I'm not the queen....princess maybe....but not the queen!  ;)

Simple yet Elegant Key Lime Pie:  


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (organic preferred --- or graham crackers pulsed in food processor until crumbs result - (I actually found gluten free graham crackers at my health food store and have been able to substitute them for the traditional crumbs...I like them)
5 TBSP.  Un-salted Butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix above ingredients together and pat into a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.


14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 egg yolks (whites not used) 
½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice

Combine all three ingredients until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream or meringue, garnish and serve.
I love to garnish with fresh berries and
a "dab" of fresh,
real whipped cream!
( 1/2 pint  8 oz. heavy cream w/ 1 TBSP. sugar & 1 tsp pure a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat on high until stiff peaks form, then serve)


If you're lucky, you just might get a slice before I devour it!

Simple Pleasures!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Craving Comfort...

The Seasons are Colliding ~

We had frost last night...
And the colors are changing quickly...

It is Autumn...

Time for Crisp, Vivid Days...

Chilly Nights...

And Comfort Food!
I almost passed by these gorgeous peppers, but there was just enough chill in the air to stop me in my tracks as I was reminded of comforting Autumn days as a child when I'd arrive home from school and be greeted by the wonderful aroma 
filling the home as my mom's stuffed peppers
simmered on the stove top! 

It's another recipe which is not only fixed in my memory, but also rooted in my heart and when I think of comfort food, this recipe is at the top of my list!


Over the years, I've tweaked my mom's recipe just enough to make it my own, replacing the ground beef (or the mixture of beef & pork) she would use, with my version of lean ground turkey
and using lower sodium organic tomatoes. 
For the most part, my recipe is very close to hers.   

Here's my version:

1 lb. lean (or extra lean) ground turkey
3-4 cloves garlic (pressed or diced)
one small yellow onion, chopped
approx. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
approx. 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup white rice w/ 1 cup water (cooked according to pkg. directions)
6 large (or 8 small) green peppers ( remove tops and seeds; rinse well)
1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice (I use low sodium)
2  (14 oz.) cans organic diced tomatoes

First, prepare rice and set aside to cool
In large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, garlic, onion and rice, salt and pepper (mix with large wooden spoon or very clean hands) until combined.
Fill pepper halves with meat mixture

In a large pot, drizzle enough juice into bottom;
Place filled peppers into pot;
Add tomatoes and carefully pour tomato juice over the top so that all peppers are completely covered;
Place over medium high heat on stove top
until juice begins to bubble.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until meat is completely cooked through (approx 60 minutes)
** because I use turkey, I allow them to cook longer so that the meat is completely cooked and no pink remains. 
(if using a meat thermometer, it should read 180). 

I like to eat this heartwarming dish more like soup...ladling lots of juice over the top and soaking up the extra with fresh Italian or sourdough bread!

Mmmm ~~

The warmth of the steam on my face
 as I move closer to the bowl...
placing my soup spoon into the bubbling sauce...

      to savor...
                          the flavor...   
                                        of comfort!!!

What's your favorite comfort food?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The little girl

She pulled the car into the lot at the edge of the forest preserve and gazed out over the field of wildflowers, illuminated with the vivid glow of goldenrod against a backdrop of tall reeds standing on the marsh.

Her introspective heart was heavy.

She reflected back through the years, recalling episodes from her past which left her feeling rejected, abandoned, lonely, hurt, afraid, and hopeless. She was angry over some of her experiences as she felt robbed in a way...robbed of the life she dreamed of back then. She longed to be that little girl again...the one who was so very happy and carefree; the one who looked toward the future with bright eyes of expectation of a life filled with love. Somewhere between rejection and anger she was lost... The innocence of a child abandoned in the aftermath of rejection.

As the tears welled in her eyes, she suddenly felt a presence like no other.
The voice of God called out to her:

"My precious child, let go of anger; fear and hurt. I will make you new again. You must forgive it all and allow me to deal with those who hurt you. You must let all bitterness go so that you can have peace. You must also forgive yourself...really forgive. When I died for you I took your sins upon myself so that you would not have to die (yes I am your atonement); when I rose from the grave, I defeated death. I am alive and have come to give you life and a fullness of life!
When I ascended, I defeated evil.
You have nothing to fear! You have everything to gain! Life in me and for all eternity is yours if you will only accept it. I will heal you from all of your un-forgotten pain.
You will be free!"  

He knew exactly how she felt and explained to her that every sorrow she has experienced, He has also experienced. This voice...this tenderness...this spirit...penetrated her heart, making it clear that anger need not be hers anymore; that her identity is in the one who looks upon her as the most magnificent He created her to be.

Tears streaming down her face, she envisioned herself as a little girl, standing at the edge of the field, clutching a pink flowered suitcase to her chest. The image of this suitcase signified all the pain she had been holding onto. Year after year she had been stuffing it with one pain after another until it was ready to burst open, exposing its contents of all the emotions hidden inside.

She imagined herself stepping into the field, taking one baby step after another, until she could see her daddy with arms open wide, calling her into his presence. With her suitcase still held tightly to her chest, her pace quickened and she moved closer. She began to run to Him, smiling jubilantly as she leaped into his arms. He took the suitcase from her and He released it into the air as it vanished.

Her suitcase filled with everything but treasure was no longer weighing her down. She felt free again, jumping in the air, dancing, laughing...tears turning to joy...and her heart as light as a feather...the way she remembered it to be back then. The way He made her to be! He held her close in His tender arms of mercy and comforted her, letting her feel His blanket of security wrapped around her soul.

The little girl is her daddy's care!

The sun was beginning to set. She realized she had been there at the edge of the field all afternoon…with God!   It felt like just moments!
As she drove the car out of the lot and headed home, she turned on the radio and was amazed to hear this song playing at that very moment! Smiling ear to ear, she turned up the volume as loud as possible and delighted in every word as she knew it was true!

I can't get enough of that song!
p.s...this story is not about anyone in particular... could be about everyone!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just a little longer?


 Can you spot the bumble bee and the little fly coming in for a landing?


My favorite season

is quickly coming to an end....   



Yet I cling to it...

hoping to make it stay around

a little longer

Daylight is Diminishing


And a chill is in the air

making me crave comfort foods

and apple pie!

But oh, not yet...please...

I just got used to the heat!

  And...I haven't even used up my little tube of sunscreen! 

I want more

bike rides along

the lakefront...

And visits to the farm

with my best four legged friend... 


 Corn on the Cob



made from

fresh garden veggies...



Refreshment by the stream...

Walks in the park...

Summer fountains...

 Gazing upward

as the moon hangs out with the clouds...







Since Labor Day, front doors in the

neighborhood have been adorned with

autumn wreaths; friends are sharing recipes

for pumpkin cookies and fall mums have

been on display in the markets.

But I just don't feel ready...

And my flowers are still in full bloom!

Oh...Please...don't rush me!!! 


Is anyone else sad that summer comes

 so late and leaves so early?  

 Or is it just me?                         

I'll miss you summer!  I'll miss eating

outdoors in the warmth and sunshine...

open windows ushering in balmy breezes... 

the freshness of the morning dew and 

the aroma of orange blossoms...

the beautiful song

of cardinals

and chickadees

Evenings of cool refreshment

The sound of the owl's call and the crickets

night time serenade... a steady morning

wake up call from the baby wren nested

nearby...the sweet smell of honeysuckle...

The feeling of freedom...

The kind of freedom that makes you feel like

dancing like nobody's watching! 

And Sunsets! 





(I'm so thankful that sunsets are year round!)

I did recently say to some friends that I'm

trying to embrace the changing seasons so

that I won't miss out on the beauty of the

moment.  Just as I rush out at sunset to see

what the master artist paints for us each

evening, I will also revel in the full spectrum

of autumn color coming our way very soon.

I will embrace each new season...when it's

time...but...for now...until the calendar

says it's autumn...

I'd like

to stay 






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