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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Soup’s On!

On these brutal winter days, are you in need of a new dinner recipe? Here’s a soup recipe that’s delicious, healthy, and bound to chase away the chill. It’s awesome served with crusty bread, your favorite grilled sandwich, or cornbread.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
3/4 C. acini de pepe pasta
6 C. chicken broth
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
5 C. kale greens, chopped small

Heat oil in a large pot (medium heat). Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Sautee for 5 minutes. Add ground Italian sausage and cook thoroughly. Break up any large pieces of sausage with your spoon.

In another pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the acini de pepe pasta to the boiling water and cook according to directions. Drain the pasta.

Add chicken broth and sweet potatoes to the pot with the sausage. Bring to a boil. Add the cooked, drained pasta. Add the chopped kale. Cover until greens are cooked, about 5 minutes. Turn off, cover, and let rest. In 15 minutes, stir well, then serve.

Enjoy!

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Jericha Kingston, Recipe

 

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Why God Wants to Bless You

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I was in church a few weeks ago when the Lord whispered to my soul words I never thought I’d hear from God. “I don’t want to bless you.”

I immediately tuned out the pastor. “What was that, Lord?” Surely I’d heard him wrong.

Another minute or two passed while I waited. Finally, probably when God had my full attention, he continued: “I don’t want to bless you . . . for your sake alone.”

Oh. Phew.

Wait, what?

Tweet this: God doesn’t want to bless you for your sake alone. 

Then he brought to my mind a passage of scripture I’d memorized many years before. Psalm 1:1-3:

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

I’d first memorized those words when I was a young Christian. One of the reasons I loved it was that last line—“In all that he does, he prospers.” I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I thought of that in financial terms. Oh, I knew the verse didn’t necessarily promise me riches, but I figured my chances were much better to get rich if I followed God, and with all our financial woes at the time, prosperity sounded pretty good.

Through the years, I came to understand that the tree flourished because of its deep roots—a strong connection to God. It flourished because the river flowed near it—like the living waters of Christ that fill us and bless us. So the prosperity spoken of in verse 3 has everything to do with the blessings of being connected to Christ.

That Sunday in church, the Lord spoke again to my heart. “What does the tree do?” he asked.

I closed my eyes and imagined a tree like the Psalmist might’ve been looking at, one standing in the arid Israeli soil, maybe even a tree in an oasis in the desert. I had to dig pretty deep to some old science lessons, but I came up with a list.

A tree:

Provides shade
Acts as a wind barrier
Provides shelter in a storm
Absorbs rain that would otherwise runoff or evaporate
Converts carbon dioxide to oxygen
Becomes a home for birds, animals, and insects
Provides fruit, which becomes food, then seeds to reproduce itself

There was more, though. Picture that tree in the midst of a desert, standing high above the sand. It shows people where the water is. A tree would be a welcome sight to a weary, thirsty traveler.

So if I live my life the way I should (see verse 1) and delight myself in God’s word (verse 2) he will make me like this tree. And what does this flourishing tree do?

It provides shade from the world—protection from penetrating rays of judgment.
It acts as a barrier as the enemy hurls his accusations like a strong wind.
It provides shelter from the many storms of life.
It absorbs nourishment, so others can grow nearby.
It illustrates how God can convert the ugly output of our lives into blessing.
It offers a shelter to anyone who seeks it.
It feeds the hungry and, through its work, reproduces itself.
It acts as a beacon, drawing weary travelers to the life-giving water of Jesus Christ.

And think about this: which of those blessings benefit the tree? None of them. God makes that tree flourish to provide his living creatures with what they need. In the same way, God blesses us so that we can love the souls he puts in our lives. He makes us to stand tall, so more of his weary children will find their way home.

God doesn’t want to bless you for your sake alone. He wants to bless the world through you. Soak in God’s truth, my friends. There are travelers seeking the living water, and you may be the only tree in their desert.

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Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

What’s One More?

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My son is a cowboy. Literally. He trains horses, he’s team roper, he wears the hat, the boots, and the spurs. I should have listened to that old Willy Nelson song, “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” But I didn’t.

Last month he called to tell me he was buying another horse and would bring it up for the two weeks he’d be staying with us over Christmas. He’s a school teacher by day, so he gets a long Christmas break. And because he lives at the opposite corner of the state from us, we love having that time to spend with him. And his horses. There were a few jokes with our friends about how everyone’s son comes home for the holidays hauling horses. And then, in a twist of fate involving his old truck and needed repairs or replacement, he has returned south leaving my winter paddock full of horses.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been invited to participate in not one, not two, but three romance anthology proposals. This was all very unexpected because a) I don’t write romance and b) I’m not a fan of anthologies. But you know that old saw about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Or even better, that the Lord works in mysterious ways. I agreed to the first because the opportunity was presented, and I felt that it would be foolish to turn it down. I agreed to the second because I knew I’d enjoy working with the person who asked. I agreed to the third because it’s with a very special group of ladies close to my heart.

So this month I have a paddock full of horses and a calendar full of deadlines.

Isn’t that the way life works? So often it’s feast or famine. We have either too much, or too little, of the things in our lives. But God knows what we need and when we need it. He’ll give us the strength and grace to see it through.

Now I need to pull on my coat and boots, toss some hay to the horses, pitch a little … well … you know, and get back to my computer to pound out my next chapter. Write on!

~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped

 

 

 

 

 

PeggThomas.com

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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All The Wrinkled Ladies

Many New Year’s Resolutions have been made this past month regarding personal appearance. Most of them have probably already been broken 🙂 Here’s a classic video from Christian comedienne and author Anita Renfroe about ladies, thighs, weight and wrinkles. Enjoy!

Kara writes supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. BlogPhoto Resized

She’ll also keep you updated on upcoming writing contests and some of the best reads in Christian suspense.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by clicking the below link:

@KaraHunt2016 on Twitter

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Kara Hunt

 

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Writer’s Chuckle

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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in Humor, Writing

 

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Learning To Follow

Follow. It’s my word-to-live-by this year. The word that made its presence known and wouldn’t leave my brain. I’ll be tested, no doubt about it. Last year’s word was Trust, and God challenged me.

So why the word follow? I’m not sure yet, but lately I’ve been asked one question more than any other: How did you know you were meant to be a writer?

For this very reason.

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Now I realize that sometimes our will isn’t always God’s will, so we need to make certain whose dream it really is. But God will not let you forget His will either. And no matter how many times I made excuses, let “life” get in the way, or pursued something else, my passion for writing would not stop bobbing to the surface.

The Lord has blessed me. He’s opened doors. I’ve stepped through. And with each and every day, I’m learning to follow.

~Candice Sue Patterson writes Modern-Vintage Romance–where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart will release in 2016. For more information, visit her website at www.candicesuepatterson.com.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Getting Past Offenses

The careless words of others can wound deeply. If we’re unprepared for the unkind words of others, we can be shocked by those closest to us. Unkind speech finds us all, but we have the privilege of responding in love.

Picture this: an individual says something unkind, sees your response, and feigns innocence at the reaction their words garnered. Do you recognize the following defensive tactics?

“What?” As in, What did I say that you don’t like? or What are you so upset about? Before you react negatively, remember, you don’t know the exact translation of her “What?” but she’s given you a perfect opportunity to respond in love. Answer her truthfully. Kindly explain why her words offended you.

“You’re too sensitive.” This is a classic response from someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for his words. This person would rather choke to death than let an apology cross his lips. Unfortunately, there are those who think apologizing is a sign of weakness. Show him that’s not the case. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but you need to know, your words really hurt me.”

Regardless of how others use their words, you are responsible for your speech and actions. Scripture says if you’ve been offended, go to your brother and tell him. Make it a priority. Don’t let your hurts fester.

Finally, forgive. We need forgiveness for our many tresspasses, so we must be quick to forgive to those who offend us.

~ Jericha Kingston

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in devotion, Jericha Kingston

 

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