Archives for : January2018

January: a Time of New Beginnings

January: a time of New Beginnings . . . But what kind?  By Sharon Sheppard

It can be more than a little overwhelming, but if we’re ever going to get it together, we tell ourselves, January is the time to start.  (Never mind the old saying about the road to you-know-where being paved with good intentions.)

So we make resolutions, start diets.  We promise ourselves we’ll tackle all those things we’ve been putting off: clean out the closets, eat healthier, finish those incomplete projects.  Our cupboards and desk drawers will be tidier, we’re sure.  And we will exercise more faithfully, floss more often, etc., etc.

But today I’m asking myself a different set of questions:

What will really matter if 2018 should become my last year on this planet?

What would I wish I had done?

Will the way I spend time this year have an impact (positive or negative) on others?

What might I do that will have eternal consequences?

Heavy stuff, right?

Rather than making a staggering list of things I think I should be doing, I’m asking God what He wants me to do this year.  (I notice that He and I often have different ideas about such things.)

He won’t ask me to do more than I am able (by His grace) to do, and I pray that I will be a good listener and an obedient follower to pick up on what He is trying to show me.  You can pray for me, too, if you think of me…

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

Blessings on your NEW YEAR!

Enjoying Everyday Life

I, Mary, just received my winter edition of ENJOYING EVERYDAY LIFE, by Joyce Meyer. The first thing that caught my eye when I opened the magazine was an article entitled, The Ultimate Stress Reliever. Seems we need such wisdom in our troubled world today.

The article reads, in part:

               “Trusting God is the greatest stress reliever in the world.

Joyce Meyer goes on to say…  “We cannot rely on our own insight and understanding, endlessly thinking about our problems, trying to figure everything out ourselves. Worrying is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives.”

In John 14:27 Jesus says, “My (perfect) peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.”  (Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.)

The truth is, God knew about your problem before you ever got it, and He already has a plan for your solution. In the meantime, you can choose to enjoy your life while you wait. With God’s help, you can trust more and stress less.

For complete article go to:  Joyce Meyer Ministries,

Killer Kale Salad

Are you ready for some “Greens”?  Not more Christmas greens, but beginning the new year with a huge delicious salad?  I, Mary, turn to The Pioneer Woman, Ree, after the Christmas bulge. Her recipes are quick, nutritious, and easy. Enjoy!

Killer Kale Salad

Prep: 10 Minutes Level: Easy
Cook: 25 Minutes Serves: 6


  • 4 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into Bits
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Red Onion, Halved and Sliced
  • 8 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese Crumbled
  • 3/4 cups Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Kale



Fry the bacon bits until slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Pour out most of the grease and add the butter to the skillet. Add the onions and cook them over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove them to a plate. Add the mushrooms, stir, then add the wine, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mushrooms for several minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper to a mason jar and shake it to combine.

Remove the kale leaves from the stalks, then roll them up in batches and slice very thinly. Place the kale in a bowl. Add half the dressing and toss. Then add mushrooms, onions, and bacon and toss again. Finally, add the goat cheese and more dressing if needed, and toss. (Reserve extra dressing for another use.)

Serve it up and enjoy!

Ree | The Pioneer Woman





The Gift of Change

We are delighted to welcome back Rev. Edwin Hollen, a return guest blogger

The Gift of Change

“I will” is a great resolve when focused on a needed positive change. It is always interesting to hear the comments of some as we come near to the close of a year. Has it been the disappointment of a wrong choice in the year just lived? Or is it the hope that finally the new year will be the year of fulfilled dreams?

One thing is a lesson we all learn soon or should learn. We become the sum total of our resolves, choices made daily as well as yearly. The combining of our decisions determine our road of life and also the closing. The easiest part is to make a statement as to what we are going to do. The follow-through is probably where most fail. Endurance and focus is critical in fruition.

When I was young, I knew of a man given to heavy drinking (today he would be referred to as an alcoholic). He met his drinking buddies one day with a new decision: “I quit drinking!”

Their response: “For how long?”

“For life!” he responded. Their laughter provoked an immediate response. “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” he declared.

“For life”?

Remember follow-through is where the fulfillment of our resolve happens. One said, “Words are cheap—to make it happen is costly.” The story of the prodigal in Scripture is a great resolution story. Nowhere are we given a hint as to the time of year it was, nor does it matter. He has lived out a decision. He has now come to a daily regret and with remorse, awakening one morning, he makes a momentous decision. Hesitating, no longer suffering over the mistakes of the past, the resolve is made:

“I will arise and go,” and go he did.

The one innate gift the Creator has given us is the ability to change our thinking (harder for some than others). To resolve, to decide, to make choices is a cherished gift to a human life. God does not respond to just certain dates (like the New Year) to allow change or to a select people. “Whosoever will may Come.”

I am not in any way a promoter of those easy-on bumper stickers. Perhaps I would be one to oppose even their production, however I saw one so eye-catching and true—life-altering:

On the road of life, God allows U-turns

It is not a New Year’s thing. It is an “any day” thing with you and God. Though it is easier in younger years, change is possible in any season of life. Every life is filled with decisions. Could we find one who has made them all correctly or wisely?

Some twenty-five years ago, my wife, Phyllis, and I had just returned from ministry in the Netherlands. We visited the advanced-training center of Teen Challenge in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, where our youngest son, Paul, was on staff working with those whose resolves had brought them to a condition of despair. His job was to travel fulltime into schools, churches, and gatherings where those in the program of restoring could relate their stories. Their group was named U-Turn.

As I spoke that morning in a chapel service and looked out over the sea of faces making new resolves, it was the apex of the summer. It left a lingering truth in my spirit. Oh, the gift of change!

Perhaps some reading this have lived this past year or even a lifetime of regret over wrong resolves and choices. Live there no longer, in that state of disappointment and despair. U-turn yourself and turn around. Resolve with determination to “arise and go to my Father.” Relive the prodigal story! Jesus said, “Come!”