Ray of Sunshine

imagesThe path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. (Proverbs 4:18)

Faith gives us a ray of sunshine and hope. We don’t have to wait for the sun to actually shine on us. In fact, there doesn’t need to be external light at all. The light shines from within. We’re not the source of it. God is. We’re the vessels. And we can share with others.

The Share Approval Process

007b8ae266d2a977ac0157e273dcdacbI created a video for a nonprofit organization, and because it featured a minor’s story, it had to go through the proper channels for approval.

The first round didn’t take long. A couple minor changes were requested, and after quickly making those, I resubmitted it, thinking the approval process would be much shorter.

Wrong.

Two months later, the video was approved. It was still usable, but it wasn’t as timely as I had hoped.

I understand the lengthy process. It was for a person’s protection. I am grateful for that.

I wonder if we all had to go through such a lengthy process when considering what to share via social media. It might be beneficial for everyone involved, the sharer and the sharees. It would require perseverance and patience, two things with which many of us struggle. One of the things we like most about social media is the immediacy and accessibility of it. But that’s not always a good thing.

Put a share approval process in place. You will likely thank yourself years from now when Timehop reports what you posted in the past, and I’m certain many who are reading your posts will thank you, too.

The Burden and Responsibility of Excess

heres-a-woman-biking-with-baskets-to-sell-in-a-market-in-myanmarWhen you reap the harvest in your field, and you forget a sheaf in the field, do not go back to get it. It is to be left for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you knock down the fruit from your olive tree, you must not go over the branches again. What remains will be for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you must not glean what is left. What remains will be for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I am commanding you to do this. (Deuteronomy 24:19-22)

Be less stingy. Be more generous.

What can you share today? Space in your home? Your car? Your wallet?

We live with excess, yet we constantly try to scoop it all up and carry the load in our pockets and aprons.

 

Sharing the Burden

1224141025158I will take some of the Spirit who is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself. (Numbers 11:17)

We share the burden because it not only helps us but helps others. We often welcome the opportunity to take some burden off of someone else, but we’re more hesitant to relinquish our own burdens, especially when we see them as our responsibilities.

We think we have to do so much in our own strength, whether it’s bearing our own burdens or sharing someone else’s, but that’s not God’s intention. God seems to put a priority on sharing burdens not simply bearing burdens.

And by sharing, He assures us we don’t stand on our own. We don’t just share and bear in our own strengths. He wants us to rely on and trust Him. He is the one who bears the burden. We need to share with Him and bear with Him, because only He is wise enough to know the details and powerful enough to handle all the details well.

Share Your Laugh

tumblr_nia02knCC61rmagk1o1_1280My daughter and I settled into our room at camp before the first evening’s session. We hadn’t met many people yet, but we soon knew who we wanted to meet! We heard some voices outside our window, which had a bench overlooking a beautiful lake. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but every now and then we heard an infectious laugh. It was filled with genuineness and joy, and every time we heard it, we laughed, too. We couldn’t help ourselves.

That night while speaking, I mentioned the infectious laugh we heard. Afterward, a group of women approached us and let us know they instantly pointed fingers at their friend, who consequently laughed, and we immediately identified her as the laugher! Throughout the weekend, I saw her many times. Sometimes she was laughing; other times, she wasn’t. But no matter what the expression on her face, she reminded me of joy. She didn’t have to actually laugh or even smile to remind me of the joy I heard in her.

You don’t always have to smile ear to ear or have a unique laugh to share joy with others. You can share your laugh and joy with others without saying a word at times. How you respond and live impacts others’ lives.

What are you sharing with others?

In The (K)Now

In-The-KnowIs a readily-accessible social media presence feeding an obsession to be “in the know…in the now”?

How immediately do you expect or want to see someone’s photos when you know they are at a special event? Where do you look for more information about someone’s medical condition or update? How quickly are you to assume one person’s perspective is the only side of the story because it’s all you can see and read? What do you assume about a person’s life because of their posts? Are you willing to readily accept something as truth when it affirms what you want to hear or if it gets shared by one or more people in your feed? How much fact-checking do you do?

Social media helps us get fast access to information, whether it’s about an international or national event or an individual’s life. But has that instant access made us spoiled and lazy? Do we believe everything we read or see? Do we try to manipulate truth by controlling our access to information?

We need to ask ourselves these questions and commit to an authentic, humble search for truth instead of taking the fast track toward something that easily satisfy our need to claim as truth. Social media can be a great tool of communicating and sharing, staying connected and reaching out for help. But it can retrain us to think we need to know more than we need to know more quickly than we need to know it. Careful searching is worth the time and effort.

Welcome Fall with Yumminess!

Happy first day of Fall! It’s one of my favorite times of the year, complete with the crisp air and vibrant colors. It’s a time of celebrating the joys we’ve had through summer and preparing for the wintry months ahead. The cool evenings invite us to sit around a fire with friends, snuggle under a blanket with a good book, or fill our homes with the scent of baking apples, cinnamon, and other deliciousness.

Celebrate Fall by trying a new recipe. Then share with a friend!

Caramel Apple Crisp

Apple Filling:

  • 5 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Crumble:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup butter, softened

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degree C).
  2. In a medium size bowl, toss apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water; spread evenly into a 8×8 inch pan. In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, and butter; spoon mixture evenly over apples.
  3. In a heavy sauce pan over low heat, melt the caramels with the evaporated milk. Heat , stirring frequently, until mixture has a smooth consistency. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the crumble.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes (apple mixture will bubble and topping will be golden brown).

Spicy Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, milk, cream, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in the cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Beat in the flour and eggs. Pour filling into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 50 minutes, or until filling has set.

Autumn Pork Roast

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Season the pork loin with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork loin on all sides in the hot oil, about 10 minutes total. Remove the pork loin from the pan, and set aside. Pour in the white wine, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the caramelized bits in the pan.
  3. Scatter the butternut squash and onion in the skillet and place the browned pork loin on top so they work as a roasting rack. Stir together the applesauce, mustard, soy sauce, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour over the pork loin, then cover the pan with a lid or a double layer of aluminum foil.
  4. Bake pork loin in preheated oven until it has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), about 1 hour. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving

Sweet Potato Casserole

  •  4 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

The Good Salad

  • 3/4 cup cashew halves
  • 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 medium Bosc pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes
  1. In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast cashews until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove cashews to a dish to cool slightly.
  2. Return skillet to medium-high heat, cook bacon strips until crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and soak up grease with a paper towel. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and toasted cashews. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together white wine vinegar, mustard, and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a large salad bowl, toss dressing with greens, pear slices, grapes, and bacon, and sprinkle with nut mixture.

Pear Crumb Pie

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled pears
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter or margarine
  1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle with water; toss until mixture is moist enough to shape into a ball.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie pan. Flute edges. Combine filling ingredients; spoon into the crust.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
  5. For topping, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. bake 40 minutes longer. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary.

Pear and Feta Salad

  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Bosc pear, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Asian pear, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
  1. Place the lettuce into a salad bowl, sprinkle on the feta cheese in a layer, and top with a layer of Bosc and Asian pears.
  2. Serve with balsamic vinaigrette on the side.