Blog

Christmas

Christmas Heirlooms

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The beautiful glass ornaments were my husband’s grandparents. They are a treasure that we will pass on to our sons. I call this one the satellite because that’s what it looks like to me. It’s one of my favorites, and I always put it at the top of the tree.

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I call this one the lemon because of the shape and it’s pale yellow center. It’s exciting each year as I open up the boxes of ornaments and pull out all these incredible heirlooms. Each piece of painted glass is a bit of family history. They remind us that generations before us celebrated the birth of Jesus and we will do the same.

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As we carefully unwrap these tiny gifts and place them on our tree we see family. We see love. We see God’s love. His love came down from heaven as a tiny baby to save us. Jesus is the greatest gift to the world, and He is worthy of celebrating. 

Beyond antique ornaments, I hope we have passed on to our children the importance of celebrating Christmas. We purposely made this time of year as positive as we possibly could for our kids. Making those memories with baking cookies to give out to friends and family. Or spending time with family, or counting down to December 25th with Advent calendars. Just our own little traditions to show the importance of taking the time to be joyful about Jesus Christ being born.

We celebrate that hope came into the world and changed everything forever. In all the negativity, and trying to take Christ out of Christmas, we choose Jesus. We will tell others about His amazing grace and perfect love. We will bake the cookies, and watch the silly movies, and sing along to all the Christmas songs. Because we have so much to be grateful for.

I pray that our family’s most prized Christmas heirloom is Jesus Christ. Our family story will continue with the next generation. As they open up the hand painted glass ornaments the love will be passed on. Jesus is the reason for this special season. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 

 

Merry Christmas!

Love you all,

Meghan 

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Faith

Shake It Off

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Over the summer I was at the right place at the right time to capture this bee and butterfly. I’m always on the lookout for butterflies when I’m working in the garden. This scene got my attention in a different way. The beautiful monarch was eating nectar, and the bees would not leave it alone. Bees kept landing on the butterfly’s wings. The monarch was undeterred as it would shake it’s wings and get right back to business.

This pattern kept repeating. Happy monarch eating nectar, busy bees landing on it’s wings. The monarch would flutter it’s wings every time a bee landed on them. This was one determined butterfly. Nothing was going to stop the butterfly from it’s purpose of gathering nectar, not even some very stubborn bees.

We get distracted from our purpose. The enemy loves to get us off course, and stop us dead in our tracks from our Kingdom purposes. He dive bombs us every day with all sorts of things to take our eyes off of Jesus. That’s the last place he wants us looking. Oh no, we can’t have our focus on Christ. Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Some days the distractions are small, and some days the distractions are big. So big that they take our joy away, and steal our hope. We get weighed down, and get hurt. Then we are so busy focusing on the pain and annoyances in life that we have completely forgotten about our victory in Jesus Christ.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV 

Those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior have victory over death and sin. Sin has no hold on us. Death has no sting. The same Jesus who took our sin away also gives us victory over every challenge and problem in this life. We don’t always win every battle, and we will take some losses along the way, but we are winners in the end through Jesus. He already took care of it for us.

Those bees will keep coming. They will try their hardest to land on our wings, and stop us. We will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. And when we get stung, He will help us, and heal us, and we will start again.

Shake off the distractions. Eyes on Jesus. We have victory through Him.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2, Berean Study Bible

Love you all,

Meghan

Father God,

Thank you for your perfect love and grace. Thank you for Jesus. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. When we get distracted, help get our focus back on the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Thank you for the victory we have in Jesus in every circumstance, and every trial. We belong to You, and You always take care of your children.

Amen

Food, mustard seed sentinel

Sweet Potato Souffle

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Every cook has a signature dish. It’s the recipe that you get asked to make at each holiday gathering, or get together. One of my mom’s iconic dishes at Thanksgiving was sweet potato souffle. Mom started making these wonderful sweet potatoes many years ago after getting the recipe from our pastor’s wife. Sweet potato souffle is synonymous with Mom, and Thanksgiving.

Before I experienced the joy of this souffle, I never touched sweet potatoes. Yams with some marshmallows had no appeal to me as a child. Everything changed after the first delicious bite of these delightful sweet potatoes. This is hands down, the best sweet potato recipe.

Even though this is a classic side dish, it really could be a dessert. The sweet potatoes are light and fluffy from the eggs, with plenty of sweetness from the sugar. Toasted pecans and brown sugar on top make the perfect pairing. Sweet potato souffle is scrumptious and a great addition to any celebration.

Happy Eating!

I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

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Sweet Potato Souffle

 

Ingredients

3 lbs. sweet potatoes cooked and mashed (3 cups)

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. salt

 

Topping

½ cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup finely chopped pecans

¼ cup butter, softened

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes or until tender.
  3. Reduce the oven to 350° after removing the sweet potatoes. Cool the potatoes slightly then scoop the sweet potatoes out of the skins, and into a large mixing bowl.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are still hot, mash them with a potato masher, or use an electric mixer. Add the butter and mix well with an electric mixer.
  5. Add the eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well with an electric mixer.
  6. Pour sweet potato mixture into a buttered 2 quart casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl mix flour, brown sugar, pecans, and butter. Spread the topping evenly across the top of the unbaked sweet potatoes.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes until browned and the filling has firmed up.
  9. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Notes 

*The mixture is pretty runny before it’s cooked.

*The souffle is soft and will set up as it cools.

*Canned sweet potatoes work well if you don’t want to cook fresh sweet potatoes.



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For this recipe and more go to Mustard Seed Sentinel, Meghan’s Corner.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-sweet-potato-souffle

Food

Pumpkin Bars

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It’s that time of year. Pumpkin time. Pumpkin everything is everywhere. It wasn’t that long ago that the only big thing happening pumpkin-wise this time of year was the now infamous pumpkin spice latte. If you got your hands on one of those, then you felt pretty special. Now, pumpkin has taken over all aspects of food from yogurt to cereal, and even candy. We are pumpkin obsessed for some reason. For the non-pumpkin eaters, I’m sorry. For the rest of us, yay!!

In honor of all things pumpkin, I give you pumpkin bars. You’re welcome. I’ve been making these divine treats for close to twenty-six years. The bars are really more like a moist delicious cake. The pumpkin flavor is there, but it’s subtle, not overpowering. And, the piece de resistance, cream cheese frosting. The combo of the scrumptious cake and sweet icing make this dessert irresistible. It’s hard to stop at one. Pumpkin bars are addictive. You’ve been warned. 

I was blessed with this recipe from my boss all those years ago. She brought them into work one day and it was love at first bite. I got the recipe from her, which she was given by her mother many years before. And the circle of life continues as I pass this fantastic recipe on to you. Maybe you will share it with someone in your life too. Whenever I make these for potlucks or any event, they get devoured every single time. So be ready with the recipe, because you will be asked. 

Pumpkin bars are a nice alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, make both. Pumpkin fans everywhere will rejoice. I have to admit that I’ve made these in the summer. I know. It’s a bit bold, a bit daring, but so worth it. Try pumpkin bars in the off season too. They are just that good.

Happy Eating!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

 

Pumpkin Bars

 

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.

 

4 eggs

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 15oz. can pumpkin

1 cup vegetable oil

pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream eggs and sugar.
  3. Add the vegetable oil, pumpkin, and pecans.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer.
  5. Pour into an un-greased 15x10x1 inch pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool completely before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese softened

¼ cup butter softened 

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together with a hand mixer until smooth.

 

Notes:

Store at room temperature in a sealed container.

I never add the nuts, but I’m sure it’s delicious. 

Let the cream cheese and butter soften at room temperature before making the frosting.

Persecution

Join a Global Prayer Movement

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Sunday, November 7, 2021 is the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.

According to Open Doors, in just the last year there have been:

  • Over 340 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination
  • 4,761 Christians killed for their faith
  • 4,488 churches and other Christian buildings attacked
  • 4,277 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned

More from Open Doors:

  • 309 Million: In the top 50 World Watch List countries alone, 309 million Christians in the world experience high levels of persecution and discrimination for their choice to follow Christ.
  • 1 in 8: Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution
  • 4,761: Christians killed for faith-related reasons in the top 50 WWL countries.
  • 4,488: Christians detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned in the top 50 WWL countries.
  • 4,277: churches or Christian buildings attacked in the top 50 WWL countries.
  • 2.7 times: the amount the number of Christians killed has risen in sub-Saharan Africa, year over year.
  • 20:Consecutive years North Korea has ranked No. 1 as the world’s most dangerous place for Christians.
 
Every single day our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering around the world for following Jesus. Many will lose their lives. These are the heroes of the faith. We won’t see them on social media. They probably won’t write books. Yet they are warriors for God. These precious unsung Christians are my personal heroes. Their courage, faith, and love for Jesus is inspirational.
 
To suffer and even die for the name of Jesus Christ is an honor. Jesus himself suffered greatly in his short time on earth. We too will suffer for the cause of Christ. 
 
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats: do not be frightened. 1 Peter 3:14, NIV 
 
For those of us who live without this intense persecution we have an obligation to pray. To share the Gospel because we can, freely. To talk about Jesus, show His love to others, and be His hands and feet in this hurting world. 
 
Join me, and thousands of Christians around the globe, as we pray for the persecuted church this Sunday November 7th. It’s also encouraged to pray for the persecuted church the entire month of November. 
 
One of the most powerful things we can do is pray. 
 
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16b, NIV 
 
You can pray by country. You can pray for specific missionaries that you know of, or maybe missionaries that your church supports. Pray that our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ stay encouraged. Pray for their protection. Pray that the Gospel will be spread in these hostile countries. Pray that God is glorified. There are countless ways to pray for the persecuted church. Both The Voice of the Martyrs, and Open Doors have great resources of how to pray, and other ways you can help.
 
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galations 6:2, NIV 
 
 
Let’s lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ every day.
 
Love you all,
Meghan 
 
 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV 

 
 
The Voice of the Martyrs global prayer guide.

https://www.persecution.com/globalprayerguide/?_source_code=WHPB20C

Open Doors